Learning Commons project begins

Learning Commons project begins

Jonny Reico with VonRentzell Movers packs books in the third floor stacks of Love Library South as part of the Learning Commons Project. Work on the project started in July.
Craig Chandler | University Communications
Jonny Reico with VonRentzell Movers packs books in the third floor of Love Library South as part of the Learning Commons Project.

The shifting of books and journals within Love Library is heralding the start of UNL’s Learning Commons project.

Beginning this month, art and photography books will transition out of the first floor of Love Library North and into a new visual arts collection space in the Love Library Link. The new collection space will feature upgrades not available in the old space, including: wide aisles between shelves to allow for greater accessibility; large tables to review books; and access to image scanners, a computer lab and light table.

“This is going to be a wonderful change for our visual arts collection,” said Nancy Busch, dean of the university libraries. “And, it’s also the start of other changes that will lead to the completion of the Learning Commons on the first floor of Love North.”

The $10 million Learning Commons project will create collaborative study spaces open 24 hours a day on the first floor of Love Library North. The space is being designed to accommodate and promote intensive study and scholarly work, while allowing collaborations and cross-discipline connections between students and faculty.

The space will also include a coffee shop and café, private study rooms, access to Libraries and Information Technology Services staff, and a One-Button Studio where users can easily record presentations. It will also include an outdoor terrace with additional seating for studying and collaboration.

Books and journals are moving out of the space and into other library locations this summer. Based on checkout records and feedback provided during campus forums, Busch said the libraries will keep the most popular items within Love Library.

“In general, we are bringing the bulk of materials from the first floor of Love North into space within Love South,” Busch said.

Books, journals and documents that shift into either UNL’s high density facility on East Campus or the new Documents Facility on 14th Street, west of the Devaney Sports Center will be available through an enhanced delivery service, interlibrary loan or by making an appointment through the Libraries.

The Libraries has also added website functionality to allow individuals to browse shelves online.

Busch said that all materials on the first floor of Love Library North will be moved out by late August or early September, allowing UNL Facilities Management to start prep work on the Learning Commons project.

With a final approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the project will be released for bid in October, with a possible start of construction in December or January. Busch said the space is tentatively scheduled to open a year after construction starts.

Funding is being provided through a mix of campus and private sources.

VonRentzell Van and Storage has been hired to move the Libraries’ books. The Lincoln-based architecture firm Clark Enersen is designing the Learning Commons outdoor terrace space. Holland Basham, an Omaha-based architecture firm, is overseeing the design of the Learning Commons indoor space.

Throughout the entire project, signage will be updated on book locations and University Libraries staff will be available to answer questions. The Libraries has also expanded its “Ask Us” online information service to make information more readily available to users. The Ask Us service is available at http://libraries.unl.edu/ask-us.

“We are doing everything we can to communicate about changes in the Libraries and to assist patrons in finding books during this transition,” Busch said.

For more information about the Learning Commons project, click here. A University Libraries weblog is also providing updates about ongoing projects.

Danielle McGinnis with VonRentzell Movers packs books in the third floor stacks of Love Library South as part of the Learning Commons Project. The shifting of books and journals within Love Library is heralding the start of UNL’s Learning Commons project.