New additions to the Brown Library are nearing completion after a summer full of renovations.
With funding from donors, the Brown Library added three new learning facilities available to students: the Reading Commons, Scholars Lab and an electronics shop in the maker lab.
“The purpose of the new spaces and services is to host our students’ creative inquiry and share critical ideas,” said John Weaver, dean of library services and educational technology. “All these changes are designed to connect the creativity of our students to information, tools and expertise that they need to excel in their academic interest and programs.”
The new Reading Commons will give students a place to enjoy books, journals and other literary works in the library. Further, the commons will host new literary events for students, such as short story readings, poetry slams, documentary films and collections of popular modern books.
The electronics shop in the Maker Lab will offer students the opportunity to experiment with microcontrollers and other digital devices.
“Learning to program simple projects has never been so accessible,” said Darren Wilson, director of the Maker Lab. “The increased space and tool offerings make it possible for students to come in and start experimenting right away.”
The Scholars Lab, which will open in October, will provide access to scholarly software that has not previously been available to students.
“We’re seeking to provide access to the most robust tools for searching and analyzing texts and for tracking and visualizing behaviors, like eye-tracking tools to measure human interaction with computer screens,” Weaver said.
Weaver said the lab will have experts on staff to assist with the use of all new tools and will showcase these tools and hardware to students. New tools in the Scholars Lab include digital screens, web-publishing, electronic theses and dissertations, open-access journals and more.
“These changes continue to position students to compete nationally through deeper collaboration with other students and through access to higher quality information and technology,” Weaver said. “We’re always looking to improve our resources so that ACU students receive one of the best academic library experiences available.”
Weaver said Ivy League schools and other major research universities come to ACU to learn from the model of library services, which are built for design thinking and creative action.
“We’re like proud homeowners who update their kitchen to improve their cooking ability and dining experience,” said Weaver. “We’re constantly seeking to remodel the library’s scholarly kitchen so our students can experience new fields of inquiry and utilize new tools.”