Chester Fritz Library Update

Brianna Mayhair, News Writer

On Sept. 12, Stephanie Walker, Dean of Libraries and Information Resources described the future plans for the Chester Fritz Library.  

“The planning started in 2015,” Walker said, “we had a couple of options. One option was to have a full renovation, but we would have had to do quite a bit of fundraising. The second option was we had a $ 7 million fund from Chester Fritz, the original donor. We went with the lather to show people what it would look like and go from there.” 

The library has been undergoing changes, which they hope will help students as well as staff in the future.  One major change is having the IT department in the library. 

“We really think it would be beneficial to have IT in the building,” Walker said, “there have been many situations where students have experienced technological problems and we were unable to help them because the students would have to travel to the union to solve their problem.” 

Another change is the introduction of compact shelving.  

“Compact shelving will double the amount of space in the library,” Walker said, “it will contain items we have to keep, but that are not necessarily used often.” This will help create room for other things, like for study areas. 

The library took note of what individuals were requesting as well. 

“We are putting in more group study rooms on the third floor, “Walker said, “where three more are being built. We will also have more study space in general. We really wanted to have more study space before the Union went down and we just made it.”  A new study space will open on the third floor around Sept. 23. 

At the end of the month, the library will be introducing a Data Visualization Lab, Virtual and Augmented Reality Studio and the possibility of robotics on the third floor. The Writing Center will also be moved to the third floor in May. 

“We are trying to centralize a lot more services,” Walker said “and add more modern things.”

They will be adding a coffee shop to the library as well, which will open in February.  There will be a naming contest throughout October. Beats Headphones will be given to the individual who wins. 

The Open House for the library will be Sept. 24 from ten – one p.m. 

“Between all the study space, the 3D Printing Lab, IT and the new furniture,” Walker said, “we will have a lot to show off.”

A big focus with all the renovations is fixing all the safety issues. 

“Some of the rugs were torn,” Walker said. “We did not have a fire sprinkler system in this building. That is why each floor has been forced to shut down because they are putting one in.” Other areas will be repaired as well, like new carpet. 

The new renovations will also introduce new staff. 

“Starting this term, we will have Peer Resource Consultants,” Walker said,” they will be located in the knowledge commons area to provide help in other areas besides just library information.” 

The Peer Resource Consultants will be fellow students, who will help students feel more comfortable when asking questions.

The main entrance will reopen in November, closing the back. All the entrances should be reopened by the end of May once all the renovations are finished.