Morris Library upgrades with new renovations

Morris Library upgrades with new renovations

By Elizabeth zinchuk

Students can now enjoy and attend classes in Morris Library’s newly renovated sixth and seventh floors, both equipped with technology to allow them to connect their devices to flat- screen monitors.

The renovations cost $5.4 million, and include technological and structural changes that began in 2003. However, because of a lack of funding, work on both floors did not begin until 2012. The library previously underwent a $54 million renovation that was completed in 2009.

Anne Cooper Moore, dean for Library Affairs, said the newly renovated top floors of Morris Library were designed for students to have their own place.


“For students, this is such a great thing for them,” Cooper Moore said. “It’s too bad these floors weren’t utilized sooner, but now they’re up and they’re a great place for students.”

Kayla Loyd, a graduate student in workforce education from Vienna, said the new floors provide a open atmosphere, and that she enjoys using the mediascapes.

“It’s more relaxed and it makes group projects easier,” Loyd said. “It’s a nice addition with the technology, and it’s student friendly.”

Grant Bredar, a junior from Salem studying information systems technology, said he likes the new technology more than anything.

“I like the technology as an IST major,” Bredar said. “Who wouldn’t want to sit at a table with a big TV? And the chairs are softer. You can’t find chairs softer at a table in the library.”

Cooper Moore said the floors are wireless- intensive, have movable and writable glass walls in classrooms instead of chalk or white boards and have light specifically engineered to keep students awake. The floors have a large amount of natural lighting and offer a unique vantage point of Carbondale and the campus, she said.

To help alleviate the problem of excessive elevator traffic, an express elevator on the west side of the building that was previously a staff-only elevator was opened to the public, she said.


“I really want students to learn about this elevator because it will make their lives easier and many of them don’t seem to be aware of it,” Cooper Moore said.

Students can use more than 20 newly installed mediascape tables between the two floors. They allow students to connect any personal devices, such as their phone, laptop or tablet, to a large flat-screen monitor. Adaptors are available at the circulation desk,

Cooper Moore said.

The sixth floor now houses the Math Central

area: a space for math instruction below the calculus level. The floor has two math labs with laptops built in to the tables and four classrooms with one containing laptops.

The wireless focus on these floors, Cooper Moore said, was completed with the future in mind.

“We think people will eventually always

have their own devices in the future so we didn’t want to establish permanence by using desktops, for example,” Cooper Moore said.

The chairs are designed for students’ ease and can easily be switched for right-or left- handers. They contain a space for book bags, a cup holder and a slot for devices such as phones or tablets.

“These classrooms are flexible, so as the way we teach and learn changes, we configure the space accordingly,” Cooper Moore said.

Krystal Caronongan, a fulltime math lecturer, said she now teaches Intro to Contemporary Math, Intermediate Algebra and College Algebra in the library. Caronongan said the new space was great and the mediascapes are here to make office hours more interactive and similar to that of a mini-study session.

“The great thing about the mediascapes is I can easily hook up my iPad and I can present lecture notes from earlier,” Caronongan said. “I can rework problems.”

Caronongan said the technology available in Math Central allows her to be more efficient in helping students.

“Rather than individual students having to ask questions over and over as if it was regular office hours or tutoring, I can teach five or six students and answer their questions all at one time,” Caronongan said.

Caronongan said overall, students seem to like the new classrooms, especially when the class requires more visual aspects.

She said the technology is best suited for math

courses, all of which have homework, quizzes and grade books based online.

“The world of math is starting to become very technology-based,” Caronongan said. “With certain levels of courses, it’s just inconceivable the amount of grading that would be involved for a class of 40 students with one teacher. So what has started happening a lot more are things have become online dependent.”

Caronongan said teaching needed to start representing this online dependency and stray away from the lecture and chalkboard format. She said now she is able to teach more efficiently.

English Composition I and English Composition II also have classes in the library. Other courses may be held in the library while the original classroom is undergoing maintenance.

Part of the renovations included additional study rooms that incorporate soundproofing and large flat-screen monitors.

Cooper Moore said the 11 tables on both floors were designed to work like group study rooms. The tables look like booths with a flat screen monitor but in between each booth is high sound proofing barrier. Students can hook their personal electronic devices to the monitor.

She said the open design allows students to locate their groups or friends easier, but once they sit at the tables, there is exclusivity because

they cannot see or hear people next to them. The seventh contains four classrooms and is also the new location for the Tutoring Center, Testing Services and Center for Learning Support Services’ offices. All were previously

located in Woody Hall.

Haley Nelson, a peer supervisor for academic

coaches, said the new Tutoring Center’s location is a huge improvement.

“It makes sense because students come to the library to study and learn material, and students come here to do much of the same,” Nelson said.

Nelson said students often have had difficulties finding tutoring services in Woody Hall, and that she thinks the move was for the best.

The northeast corner of the seventh floor is now set up for informal class sessions, meetings and webinars. Cooper Moore said administration allows scheduled sessions to be conducted. Instructors have already expressed interest in the area.

She said most areas of the sixth and seventh floors, not including the classrooms, are open and not available for reservations. Students can use the technology at their leisure, she said.

“The other day I saw a student stretched out on the couch watching a recorded lecture on the flat screen,” Cooper Moore said. “So it’s a really informal study area.”

Cooper Moore said the library has a new code

of conduct to complement the renovations. It is different for every floor.

“Some people have walked in our first floor and have said, ‘This isn’t a library,’ because it is so loud, but that’s not true,” Cooper Moore said.

The first, sixth and seventh floors are considered collaborative floors, which allow conversation, while the second, third and fourth floors are considered quiet floors, which allow some talking. The basement and fifth floor are silent floors, which allow no talking.

Cooper Moore said this new code of conduct allows students to feel in control of their environment and space while allowing them to see which floor can best accommodate them.

Cooper Moore said she has not seen any issues with the new renovations.

She said the main problem lies with the lack of parking.

“Our one issue is parking,” Cooper Moore said. “People want to come to the library more now and are waiting for parking spaces.”

Cooper Moore said there is some possibility of redesigning the parking lot in the future.

Elizabeth Zinchuk can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ElizabethZ_DE