Professors, students reap benefits from newly renovated library floor

Sara Huebner

Trying to make a class interesting is one of the hardest jobs some professors have.

Keeping this in mind, the Kent State Main Library redesigned its sixth floor to create an environment that enhances a student’s learning experience. The renovated floor includes new technology and better resources professors can use in their lectures. The floor opened its new doors this semester.

“There are new projectors, four portable white dry-erase boards and computers with Internet access,” said Barbara Schloman, associate dean for Library and Media Services.

Several professors have used the space, including Gretchen Espinetti, outreach program manager for the department of education, who took her preschool student-teaching seminar class up to the sixth floor. The entire experience was excellent, she said.

“We had a speaker come in and talk. It was a documentation workshop,” Espinetti said.

She only had one complaint about the area.

“The students who were walking around the floor were a little distracting,” she said. “They could put up a divider wall or something there so it’s less distracting,”

Professors aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the space.

Senior finance major Del Singh has been using the sixth floor since he rushed his fraternity.

“When I rushed, this was the floor we designated as our study area,” he said. “We would all come up here to study together, so I’ve been coming up here ever since.”

The renovation to the sixth floor started last spring. New desks and chairs have been added, but some old furniture remains.

“The building opened in 1970, and the furniture on the floors is from that time period, which is why many people didn’t want to study there,” Schloman said.

The library conducted a seating survey asking people who use the quiet study areas and towers why they studied there. The results from the survey found students had a mix of things on their minds. According to the survey:

• Many sought spaces that were quiet and somewhat isolated. Quiet Study respondents also valued the convenient location.

• Proximity to computer workstations was seen as a plus.

• About one-fourth of respondents were bothered at some time by cell phone noise.

• There was an expressed need for more designated quiet areas with comfortable chairs.

• Respondents also indicated a need for more areas for those needing to do group work.

To help fix some of these problems, the library designated two different areas on the sixth floor for professors to use.

The first area, 6A, has six tables and seats 24 people. The second area, 6B, doesn’t have a teacher’s workstation but includes six tables and also seats 24 people. Professors can reserve the spaces up to twice a semester. If the spaces are not reserved for use by professors, it is a regular study area.

Funding for this renovation of the sixth floor came from the Provost’s Office, and there is enough funding left over to do another floor, Schloman said.

Plans are in place to convert the fifth floor into a quiet study area with new furniture, she said.

“Over time we want to improve the rest of the tower,” Schloman said.

Those renovations would be paid for using student fines from the library to benefit the students, she said.

Contact libraries and information reporter Sara Huebner at [email protected].