Centre News

Library makes room for new faculty offices

June 13, 2013 By Mariel Smith        
Centre College Over 100,000 volumes were moved to make room for the 14
new faculty offices in the upstairs portion of the library.

Centre College Despite the addition of 14 faculty offices in the library, students
will still enjoy a variety of study spaces and seating options.

Visitors to the Grace Doherty Library may notice a few changes as they walk up the stairs: instead of row upon row of bookshelves, new walls have appeared, complete with a fresh coat of paint and a little construction dust. Behind those walls are 14 new faculty offices.

The offices, which will be accessible from the east side of the building, house both new and returning faculty from a variety of fields, including classics, environmental studies, religion, economics, sociology, government and Spanish.

While returning students will simply note that books and study areas have shifted slightly, Director of Library Services Stan Campbell has first-hand experience with the Herculean task of moving over 100,000 books.

"It was a multi-step process," Campbell says. "First, we removed from the collection a large number of redundant volumes of bound periodicals."

By removing those print journals that were also available electronically, the library reduced its holdings by several thousand books. Most students and faculty peruse journals on a computer or tablet, so these print volumes were largely unnecessary.

The second step in the consolidation process involved installing compact shelving and archiving print materials that were not available online. By moving these older resources into storage, 20,000 more volumes were removed.

These two steps reduced the library's collection enough to clear the needed space for faculty offices. Then came the difficult part: hiring professional movers to rearrange almost every volume in the entire library.

"We had to shift the entire collection to make this work," says Campbell. "We moved about 130,000 volumes, which took the better part of spring term. It's like a row of dominoes—once you move one thing, you have to move everything."

In transferring such a huge number of books, Campbell wanted to make sure there were no mistakes; even a tiny hiccup in the process could become a major setback.

"We worked out a formula," he explains. "We counted the number of shelves and volumes and projected how many inches of free space we could leave on each shelf as we moved all of those books."

At this point, all of the volumes are moved and the faculty offices are nearly finished. However, Campbell's work is far from over. He and his team have to re-label every sign on the end of every bookshelf, since the contents have all shifted slightly. It will be a continuing process to ensure that everything is properly labeled and located.

Despite the logistical difficulties of the endeavor, Campbell is very pleased with the final results because they ultimately benefit students. In the process of building new faculty offices, the entire third floor has been re-lit, removing light fixtures from as far back as the 1960's. The upstairs bathrooms will be renovated so that they are disabled accessible.

To compensate for the loss of study space on the third floor, the study area on the main floor will be expanded and reconfigured with a greater variety of seating and collaborative workspaces.

Campbell is particularly pleased with the addition of two private study rooms on the upper level of the library.

"The seven private study rooms that we currently have were reserved over 2,000 times last year," Campbell says. "Adding a few more will be a great benefit to the students."

Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail centrenews@centre.edu or contact the Communications Office at 859-238-5748.

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