ACRLog has a post on Today’s Computer Commons is Tomorrow’s Card Catalog which makes the point about computer commons probably becoming obsolete at some point in the future.  He’s probably right.

computersFortunately, Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian at Temple University, and founding blogger at ACRLog, also recognizes that “The current wisdom seems to be that undergraduates still prefer to have access to hardwired desktops – even though the vast majority of them own their own desktops or (increasingly) laptops.”  Now that’s a practical librarian for you.  Yes, we know it all won’t last forever, but right now we need it.  That’s definitely right.

While someone other than library staff originally expected students to bring their own laptops into the library, the staff and students kept making the point that we needed actual desktops available, and that included the new 24-hour zone that’s open around the clock.  Despite some fears, we have been open almost a year in the Zone, and it has been heavily used (sometimes Standing Room Only, waiting for computers to come free) without massive thefts of hardware.  Students wanted computers provided in the Zone and the rest of the library.

Not all our students have:

  • high-speed Internet access
  • portable computers (as opposed to desktops, perhaps bought for the entire family/parent’s home office, perhaps bought used)
  • portable computers they are willing to risk bringing to campus (fearing damage or theft)
  • printing (their home printer is out of ink, too expensive to print from, too slow)
  • necessary software (especially for tablet users)
  • hardware easy to type on (tablets are good for reading but not always convenient for typing for many users)

Of course, it costs more in equipment than wooden cabinets due to updating, and students, who used to settle for scrap paper to scrawl a call number, now expect high quality laser printing for term papers.  But — we do so much more with what we have now.

Some day we’ll be wondering if we need to put more shelving in place of those computer tables, or just work tables, or cubicles.  Someday.

But not yet.

COMPLETELY Open at last!

We are finally open in the COMPLETE RENOVATED AND EXPANDED building at last!!!



The article is here.  The date is Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 1 p.m.

There are a few little shuffles to finish up.  We need to get the outside free-standing bookdrop moved to the new permanent location in the parking lot, some end panels on bookshelves, and the signage is supposed to start going up this week.  A few other items.


Moving back in

We’re closing for Spring Break, so we can move back into the renovated portion of the expanded building.  For safety’s sake, we also close the 24-hour Zone so no students will be in the building.

We already moved Technical Services and ILL into our permanent quarters in the renovated area.  This freed up the room we were using for installing the equipment that makes it into a “Team Learning Laboratory”.

The next step is to remove the walls between the sections and move everything to permanent positions.  Old shelving, which was mostly stored in a pod off site, will be brought back and erected in the renovated area next to some new shelving.

The Pebley Center (our local and Arkansas history room) moves from temporary quarters down to its new room on the first floor.

Nonfiction moves from a tightly-packed area across to the renovated space on the second floor, expanding into new and old shelving.  There will be a lot more room.

The old shelving which expanded some newer shelving will be moved, and bound periodicals will come out of temporary quarters into the south area of the second floor.

Aside from the Pebley Center, pretty much all the moving is across the second floor.

We have a moving company handling the heavy work, and this time it will be a smaller, easier job.  The first move was between floors for much of the work (Reference moved downstairs, nonfiction moved upstairs, etc.).

Then we have a Grand Re-Opening on April 3.


Sketchup for floor plans

For my own future reference, plus anyone dealing with scale drawings from a pdf file.

How to go from an architect’s pdf to a Sketchup graphic in scale

Getting it into

1. Export .tif from Adobe Acrobat Pro using architect’s pdf of the furniture layout.

2. Edit out extraneous material using a graphic editor.

3. Import .tif file of floor plan into Sketchup.

4. Set Preferences.

[Windows tab] [Preferences] – [OpenGL] – Check to [Use maximum texture size]

Sketchup warns you of a possible slowdown if you check this, but suddenly the blurry graphic imported is much clearer (not perfect, but clear enough to work with).

To set the imported graphic to proper scale, use a known measurement and the Tape Measure Tool.  “Tape” the distance on the imported graphic, and type in the known measurement (example: 9′ 8″ ); press Enter.  You are asked if you want to resize the model; answer Yes.  Now everything is in proper scale.

Progress to date (November 2012)

New addition from the southwest main entrance

So, we’ve been running in the new expansion for a bit (since August 20)….

The contractors are busy renovating the old part of the building, so some of our functions are in temporary quarters in the new section (shown above).  Tech Services and ILL, for example are upstairs (see the picture — second floor, far left window).

We also have the periodicals back issues shelved in small but just adequate quarters, and the Pebley Center (our local history room) with us upstairs on the other side of the rotunda (the rounded section on the left).

Student Support Services are temporarily in offices (second floor, just right of the tall part of the building which houses the main stairs).

Eventually all that becomes part of a new business-related area.  More on that in another post later.

Most of the long area to the right is reading/computers/stacks.  Reference on the first floor, nonfiction on the second.  Later, periodicals back files moves out to the second, and nonfiction moves back to the renovated older building.

The big request from students was for a 24-hour area, open after library hours.  We have the 24-hour zone (a.k.a. “the zone”), which is under the main stairs and extending back to the right.  We’ve been upgrading there already, adding more network connections to put in more computers.  There’s also a vending machine area connected there (drinks and snacks), printers, and after-hours restroom access.  It’s a popular place.  Access is by campus i.d. only.  Actually, some people asked for a “cafe” but that wasn’t really practical — there’s not enough traffic to justify staffing such a place 24/7.

There have been several thousand details to handle:

Gates on the circulation desk, so patrons don’t walk behind it to talk to staff at their desks; we’d prefer to handle everything at the circulation desk itself where we’re set up for that.

The Checkpoint security system is still getting adjustments to reduce false alarms.  3M is working diligently on that.

We had to get electrical and network connections set up for the long tables of computers inside the library, which was not ready for opening.  Now it’s in place and computers are available again on the main floor; we’ve been using one of the upstairs rooms as a computer lab in the meanwhile.

We only have 3 study rooms at present, but that factor will multiply once the renovation is finished.  Right now, a couple more rooms are being used as offices, and the librarians will move out of those into their own offices, and more rooms will be available as well.

We packed the books tight when we moved, to be sure we had plenty of room (better to shift later if you have room, than to run out of shelving during the move).  Now we’re doing some shifting to loosen up a bit.  Since most of the shelving is new in this new section, we’ll have plenty of older shelving to move nonfiction back to later, and still have room for expansion for a while.

New people counters on the two entrances (where in the old building we had only one entrance), which are wireless and give us a web page view of our statistics.  We’re still getting used to that; downloading the stats is still in the works, but we can see and copy the information off the web page easily enough, instead of walking over and peering at a tiny counter window.  No resetting required, either.

And lots of other details.

I think people are getting an idea of what the final complete building will be like, and seeing that it’s definitely worth all the dust and detours that have gone on.



We’re up!

So, now we’re in the new part of the expanded library.  Opened August 20 with the fall semester.

Still some stuff to work out, but we’re getting there.

Had a really good team of professional library movers who got us shifted in good time.

Now the older part gets renovated, and we expand back into that during spring break (March 2013).  Then we can have a Grand Opening.


The long and winding road…

So, starting from across Waldron and looking at the expansion…

You cross at the light, and turn right (north).

and look in the gate at the new east end of the expansion (above)… notice the gap where they are delaying installing the windows until they get all the equipment off the second floor…

and at the end of the fencing along the street, you turn left at the sign…

and continue down towards the steps (west), but before you get to them…

… you detour left around the fencing on the brand new (this week, May 21-22) sidewalk around the excavating…

… and down the ramp to our front door.

For just until mid-August.

We open using the new entrance on the southwest corner on August 20, first day of fall semester.