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Renovation transforms Hoover Library into creative learning hub

In conjunction with the relocated IT department, the new Research and Technology Support desk connects students with the information resources and support they need to succeed.
October 23, 2013

A $2 million renovation project has revitalized Hoover Library in the first major facelift since 1991.

New creative learning spaces seamlessly integrate technology while promoting collaborative study. The more than 78,000 square feet of transformed space includes an information commons complete with group work spaces and a research and IT help desk, a conference room with teleconferencing capabilities, and a research lounge where students can meet with librarians for help on papers or projects.

Senior Andrea Briggs, a History and English double major from McMurray, Pa., especially appreciates the new research lounge, which provides easy access to research librarians in adjacent offices.

“I feel like the library is being used a lot more now,” she said. “The research librarians are so readily available to help you with research or when you are stuck on a paper.”

The number of appointments with research librarians more than doubled last year.

“The entire renovation has been about developing the library as a space that meets the students’ needs and really being responsive to what the students want,” said Head Librarian Jessame Ferguson.

Renovation transforms Hoover Library into creative learning hub
The information commons, designed to adapt to students’ changing patterns of learning, features large workstations and movable furnishings.

Across from the research lounge is the information commons, a student-centered space with movable furnishings, large workstations ideal for groups, and an abundance of outlets and USB ports. Within it lies the new question-mark-shaped Research and Technology Support desk and the relocated Information Technology department. 

Annie Brown, a junior studying English and Writing from Garnet Valley, Pa., says the nearby IT support has already been helpful to her.

“It’s wonderful that they now have an open, accessible, and easy to find spot on campus to work with students,” she said.

Partnering with the Information Technology office is an important step in centralizing resources, explained Ferguson, especially as students become increasingly dependent upon technology for their studies.

Another change in student study habits involves the time of day that schoolwork is getting done. Ferguson said that within the past five years, there has been an increase in students wanting to work late at night. With subscriptions to 60 databases and 20,000 electronic journals, many resources were already accessible to students studying in the dorms at any hour. Now, students will have 24-hour access to Hoover Library as a late-night study hall space on weekdays.

These renovations were made possible by a $1.5 million capital grant from the State of Maryland that will also subsidize renovations to WMC Alumni Hall, which McDaniel was required to match prior to receiving the funds. Among the alumni and friends of the college that gave to this project is David Wahrhaftig ‘80, whose gift of $250,000 contributed a 48-person conference room with teleconferencing capabilities that will allow for global communication.

Renovation transforms Hoover Library into creative learning hub
The Leon and Betty Wahrhaftig Conference Room, a gift from alumnus David Wahrhaftig ’80, seats more than 45 people and is equipped with teleconferencing capabilities.

Other additions to the library include an information literacy interactive classroom with whiteboard projection walls, financed by an endowed building fund, as well as a high-density compact storage system that will hold 43,000 volumes and plenty of space for Hoover’s entire microfiche, microfilm, and phonograph collection.

Last year, while the renovations were taking place, Ferguson said the number of visitors to Hoover increased by 33 percent. She expects that number to continue to grow.

“It’s not just about making our environments flashy and making people want to come in, but it’s about delivering to people what they need so you can give them even more knowledge while they’re there,” said Ferguson. “It’s about the journey to knowledge, really.”