The library was once a place to find and check out books. But today, the library is a center of interactive learning.
An academic library plays a central role in helping individuals cultivate an active intellectual curiosity, explore and understand, and use accumulated knowledge to create something new. In recent years, a fundamental shift has occurred. No longer seen as traditional book warehouses, libraries are now collaborative environments where individuals and groups convene to study, socialize and gain access to resources.
With the construction of a storage repository to ease the need for more collection space, the Alkek Library can continue its transformation into a 21st century academic library designed to support new and emerging technologies to accommodate collaborative learning and research activities, while continuing to provide space for solitary research and quiet study and reflection.
Re-envisioning Alkek is a process to transform the library into a learning commons that supports the existing and emerging needs of a new generation of faculty and students who seek flexible, comfortable, welcoming spaces that foster social interaction and provide the latest technology.
The redesign will reflect the continuum of services that define the research process and library service. At one end of the continuum is “search and retrieval,” which focuses on research skills and process, identification of resources and accessing such resources. The next step involves “processing and interpretation,” which requires reading, study and analysis, work that is increasingly being done in groups in higher education. At the other end of the continuum is “packaging,” or preparing the end product, paper, presentation, thesis, dissertation or research article. The learning commons extends the continuum to include the creation and construction of new knowledge — the primary purpose of an institution of higher education.
Critical components of the library renovation include:
The renovation design will reflect the academic and scholarly intent of the library. Research and learning will be highlighted through several styles of study and research environments that make users feel relaxed, encourage creativity, and support peer learning.
Libraries are places of discovery, through their collections, the rare or unique materials acquired, and through the spaces and tools provided for faculty and students to study and work together. They occupy a special kind of space on a university campus, space seen as politically neutral and representative of the intellectual-commons-public-good. Renovation of the Alkek Library will ensure Texas State continues to provide this vital space for the benefit of faculty, students and the community at large.