CSUN students can expect a lot of changes in the Oviatt Library next fall with the addition of a new learning commons.
The facility will provide students, faculty and staff with more laptops, tablet checkout, wireless printing, improved instructional spaces, group study rooms, a multimedia lab with optional video, digital cameras, and microphone checkout.
Lynn Lampert, CSUN coordinator of Library Instruction and Information Competence, said the learning commons is being designed to help the school community with their academics.
“The mission of the Oviatt Learning Commons will be to provide a comfortable, collaborative and accessible learning area within the library that integrates technology, information technology, research assistance services and instructional expertise in order to strengthen learning, research and teaching opportunities for CSUN students and faculty,” she said. “The new approach is to integrate and blend services that students can have in one central location in the learning commons.”
In planning for the new learning commons, Lampert said the library is partnering with the Information Technology division and Learning Resource Center (LRC). She mentioned the new project will bring campus partners together to “support learning initiatives.”
Lampert said the LRC will be moving into the Oviatt as part of the new design and the University Corporation will also partner with the library to bring a permanent Freudian Sip location to the lobby, which will include comfortable seating and provide a place for students to meet.
Lampert said the current study space configurations were insufficient to foster peer learning and computing options.
“The goal is to offer students a more comfortable environment to explore, learn, create, and share within our academic library setting,” she said. “With the increase of computing, both portable and mobile, students need new space configurations to allow them to comfortably work on their research and coursework within the library.”
The new learning commons will be located on the first floor of the library and will provide a large learning area for small and large groups.
Dr. Mark Stover, CSUN’s library dean, said the new learning commons will cost $900,000.
“$600,000 will come from deferred maintenance funding, which are ‘earmarked’ funds designated to pay for the new library commons and $300,000 will come from the campus quality fee,” Stover said.
Stover said discussions regarding a new learning commons began in Fall 2011.
“Part of the impetus for this was the recognition on the part of the library faculty and administration that libraries have changed in many ways over the past few years, not just in regard to electronic journals and databases but also in terms of how students study and learn within the library environment,” he said.
Stover also mentioned the LRC, currently housed in Bayramian Hall, will be moving into the third floor of the library sometime in the next two years.
“The new learning commons will reflect the move of some of our desktop computers for students from the third floor to the first floor,” Stover said. “The learning commons will also be adding more laptop computers that students can check out from the library.”
Colin Donahue, associate vice president of facilities development and operations, said the maintenance is long overdue.
“Deferred maintenance occurs when regular repair and equipment replacement schedules for facilities are delayed to subsequent years due to lack of funding,” he said.
Donahue said the CSU has also used deferred maintenance to describe building systems that have exceeded their useful life, but still remain in service. He said each year, the campus initiates several projects in order to reduce CSUN’s growing deferred maintenance backlog.
Donahue added the facilities development and operations department will commence design for the new library commons this month.
“Design, plan check and bidding will take us through Spring 2013 and we are currently planning to start construction June 2013,” he said.
Dr. William Watkins, vice president of student affairs said the library requested campus quality fee support for the library commons-to place text books on reserve and to provide students with more digitally accessible material.
“The campus quality fee is a campus-based fee paid by students to provide additional resources to enhance their experiences on campus. Some of these dollars offset course fees, which students no longer have to pay for,” he said. “These fees also supports academic support programs and improvements in the use of technology, such as wireless infrastructure to support mobile devices students use.”
The new learning commons will be open to the CSUN community both in person and online.
Stover said renovations on the first floor will most likely be finished by Fall 2013.