Morris Library’s basement is expected to contain all of the building’s books by next semester.
Morris Library underwent a $56.7 million renovation in 2005 to update the building’s appearance, elevators, ventilation system and storage space. During the renovation, the majority of the books were stored in the McLafferty Annex and other storage buildings off campus until the project is completed.
Susan Tulis, associate dean of library affairs, said the books’ return to the library is 45 to 50 percent done. While the move is underway, renovation plans for the library’s sixth and seventh floors are in the works.
Plans to determine what the floors will be used for are being finalized, and discussions about furnishing them will come next, said Anne Moore, dean of libraries. She said floor work will not begin, though, until all the books that are intended for the basement have been moved there.
Moore said the university’s Learning Support Services, which hosts individual and group tutoring sessions, will move from Woody Hall to the library. The math lab will move from the first floor to the sixth or seventh, and a testing lab will be added, she said.
Moore said the library staff plans to create flexible spaces to allow different sized student groups to create a study area.
“We’re trying to make an environment that is very student focused (and) student friendly that you can come in … and work together,” she said.
Moore said the library staff plans to create that environment by installing movable walls so rooms can be adjusted for students to study in, adding large computer screens so students can connect laptops and work on group projects as well as putting wheeled chairs in the rooms to quickly create classroom environments of any size.
Unlike the library’s other floors, the sixth and seventh floors will not be quiet areas and will hold only a small portion of its books.
Though most changes to the building are intended to meet students’ needs, Moore said some new additions will be made for faculty members as well.
“The building has become very student focused, which is great, but faculty also need to use the library,” she said.
Moore said the library will have faculty studies, which are research rooms professors can use anywhere from a month to a full semester to work on a project. There will also be a faculty writing room where staff can come in without reservations and work on writing projects, she said.
The library reopened to the public April 16, 2009, with the sixth and seventh floors as well as the basement unfinished, and library staff had to wait to receive funds to finish moving the books back to the building. While the library received the necessary renovation funds, the books sat untouched in the storage facilities until money was acquired to move them back.
The library received the money to start basement renovations and the book move this spring.
The McLafferty Annex was the books’ primary storage facility. The building has been closed since May to allow for book transfers and shelf removal to speed up the transfer process and prevent student injuries.
The transfer has been a tedious process because books moved from the storage areas have to remain in the same order while transferring to Morris, Tulis said. She said the process is further complicated because the basement uses electronic bookcases, which allow access to only one row of shelves at a time.
“We had problems getting the compact shelving up and running, but after they got the first module up and running they knew how to troubleshoot it to solve any of the problems,” Tulis said.
The electronic bookcases run on rails placed into the floor. This storage system allows bookcases to stay closed together until students need to access materials, which allows maximum storage in minimum space. Students can then choose which aisles they want to open, and the shelves will move across the rails so they can reach their desired books.
All the shelves have sensors at the edge and in the middle of each aisle, which will stop the shelves from moving if passed, Tulis said.
She said the bookcases run on electricity and have a battery pack which can be used as a temporary electricity source in case of power outages.
While all books are still accessible through the library or special request, some students are looking forward to having them back in one centralized building.
Lenia Dixon, a freshman from Chicago studying pre-physical therapy, said she has not had problems accessing any books she needs, but her friend had problems acquiring some from storage. She said although she hoped the books would return to the library before the school year, the move will make access easier and she will appreciate when they are back from storage.
Gunner Lindsey, a senior from Xenia studying criminal justice and criminology, said he gets his books online rather than from the library, but he appreciates having them accessible to all students.
He said the books should have come back as soon as possible, but he understands the library could not work without funds to move the books back.