by Christina Huynh and Ari Sumpter
The Torreyson Library has undergone multiple renovations this spring semester, including re-flooring the first floor and painting its walls to help meet students’ requests for a new and improved facility.
Planned library renovations include extending its hours, moving the computers toward the Starbucks entrance inside the building and putting in a light wood laminate on the first floor. Vending machines will be installed in the library’s first floor printer rooms.
Renee LeBeau-Ford, collection development librarian, said half of the library’s first floor is undergoing renovations this semester while the other half will be refurbished during the summer.
Sophomore Britney Crawley said she liked the library’s direction of its renovations.
“I feel like it will eventually make our library a more welcoming and inviting place,” Crawley said. “As of now, [the renovations] are annoying and tough to work around, but in the end, they’re trying to better the library for the students.”
Other renovations being considered are restoring the first floor bathrooms, installing a family and transgender bathroom and modifying the study rooms to be covered in whiteboard, LeBeau-Ford said.
LeBeau-Ford said the goal was to not exceed $200,000 for the library’s renovations. The renovations are funded through the $3 per credit hour fee students pay every year and are approved by the library committee, she said. The library committee is composed of nine members, with student, faculty and library representation.
The ideas for the renovations were sparked through a survey distributed to students three years ago, LeBeau-Ford said. Students requested bathroom renovations, more outlets for their electronics and more comfortable furniture in the library.
LeBeau-Ford said the first step the library’s staff made in meeting the students’ requests was retiring around 400 wooden chairs and purchasing new black roller chairs.
“I think the library renovations are a good idea,” sophomore Jay Gerard said. “They’re a step in the right direction.”
Half of the library’s first floor carpet has been stripped off and will be re-floored with the new wooden laminate the dayafter graduation, LeBeau-Ford said. The approximate cost to purchase and install the new flooring was $80,000, she said.
“Once the floor is done, we will be able to lay out the new computers and move the DVD’s back. But we haven’t been able to do any of that until the floor is done, and that’s while there’s a delay [in renovations],” LeBeau-Ford said. “The floor has been the main thorn in our side.”
LeBeau-Ford said multiple color palettes were considered for the library’s first floor, such as blue and beige with red accents. However, those colors did not fit in with the UCA color scheme. She said the approximate cost of painting the library’s first floor was $28,000.
Next semester, the Torreyson Library will establish new hours to keep the facility open for 24 hours a day, five days a week. The new library hours for the weekend will be from Sunday at 2 p.m. to Friday at 5 p.m and will retain the same hours on Saturday.
“There’s not that many people in [the library on Friday’s] with the exception of finals,” LeBeau-Ford said. “I work the desk from 3-5 p.m. on Friday’s and it’s dead in here. There are maybe two or three people that are frantically printing out something, but it takes a minimum of three to four people to keep the building open. You would have to get a whole other shift of people [to keep the building open].”
The bottom floor of the library will be the only floor open from midnight to 7 a.m. from Sunday to Friday, but the top floor will re-open in the mornings, LeBeau-Ford said.
Crawley said she liked changing the library’s hours to 24 hours a day, five days a week.
“There’s been several times where I’ve been in the library and it’s 11:45 p.m. and the person comes around telling you its time to leave. If I had two more hours, I think that would have been good,” Crawley said.
Because the library will be open for 24 hours a day, the night owl study room will be discontinued, LeBeau-Ford said. No official plans have been made toward what the night owl study room will become, but Lichenstein said the room could be possibly be used as, “additional computer space, seminar rooms and study carrels.”
LeBeau-Ford said another option for the space is for Aramark to establish a food service vendor. Crawley said she didn’t like the idea of a food service replacing the night owl study room, saying that the library already had Starbucks.
Instead, Crawley said she would like to see the night owl study room replaced as an additional computer lab with more printers for students to use. Circulation desk worker Austin Clowers said he would like to see the space transformed as a convenience store, where students could buy education supplies, such as paper and laptops.
“Some days it just doesn’t work, some days it does, sometimes it’s the computer…I know students complain about it,” LeBeau-Ford said. “We definitely will work with IT to make sure that we can improve that.”
Johnathan Glenn, an information technology chief information officer, said some primary reasons why the wireless internet is not effective in the library are because of the book stacks and a problem called loading, where too many individuals log on all at one time.
by Christina Huynh and Ari Sumpter