NEWPORT, R.I. – Expansion of the Learning Commons at McKillop Library, designed to accommodate today’s collaborative approaches to education, is nearing completion in the library’s east wing thanks to a $69,550 grant from The Champlin Foundations.
Two new “pods” of computers are being created around existing columns and six freestanding collaborative technology tables will be installed. Each of these tables will provide seating space for up to eight users and feature built-in power and data jacks to support laptop use.
Renovations to this area also include the purchase of 48 computer task chairs and 12 new lounge chairs. The library’s original custom-built wood chairs will be repositioned on the third floor, where students will find more traditional, quiet study stations.
Additionally, east wing renovations include a new information desk and glassed-in consultation area, which was built to enable library users to meet for one-on-one consultations with library staff. Collectively, the changes ensure that both on-campus users and external visitors will quickly learn how to gain full access to the library’s increasingly complex resources.
The east wing renovations are expected to be completed by early February.
“The new technology and furnishings support the collaborative learning styles of today’s students,” said Kathleen Boyd, director of Library Services. “Students can work alone or in groups on the PCs and Macs in the library, or can bring their own laptops to connect seamlessly to the wireless network throughout the building. The comfortable task chairs can be moved around to form ad hoc study groupings around the new collaboration tables.”
The east wing renovations complete the library’s Learning Commons, which encompasses most of the main floor. This work was started in 2008 after The Champlin Foundations awarded $110,700 in funding for the purchase of new furnishings, technology and equipment in the west wing and to renovate the library’s classroom into a multipurpose learning space.