Augustana Library Changes

August  23, 2013

     When students begin the new academic year next week at Augustana College, they'll notice some major changes in the library. Instead of being just a four-story building on central campus, it's now a key part of the Center for Student Life - a combination library, student activities center, and dining center.

     Director Carla Tracy says the library had to give up some space and reduce its collection. But modern college libraries need less space because many materials are now digitized or online, and less-popular books can be borrowed from other libraries.

     "It's not an easy transition but everybody seems to come out feeling good about it in the end because they see that we can keep important materials, we just keep them in a different way."

     The special collections floor has been completely re-done - Tracy says the use of moveable shelves allows the library to keep the name amount of material but in half the space.

     The library kept half of the fourth floor for study rooms and a computer lab, but the other half is now devoted to student activities and special programs, plus a lot of space for "lounging," featuring a large gas fireplace.

     "My colleagues and I saw a group of young men come down the stairs here, and sit on the these sofas and say "Oh wow! This is great. I can see myself studying here." Really it was fun, so I think they really like it."

     This floor also has a game room, and a large meeting room that can be divided into smaller spaces. The overall cost of the creating the Center for Student Life at Augustana is 21 million dollars.