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School of Library and Information Science to Double Its Space

Posted Mar. 4, 2013
enter photo description
Kent State University's School of Library and Information
Science is undergoing an expansion of its location on the
third floor of University Libraries to make more room for
teaching, research and student services.

The School of Library and Information Science is currently undergoing a 14,000-square-foot renovation to expand and double its space for teaching, research and student services.

In 1970, the school moved into its current offices on the third floor of University Library, with six faculty members, two staff members and 100 students. More than 40 years later, the school has grown to 22 faculty members, 11 staff members and more than 650 students at locations on the Kent Campus, and at the school’s site in the State Library of Ohio in Columbus and online.

The space being remodeled is on the third floor of University Library and was previously used by Audio Visual Services. The remodeling is being completed in two phases. Phase 1 involves the full renovation of the former Audio Visual Services space (14,000 square feet) and Phase 2 involves the renovation of the existing School of Library and Information Science’s space (approximately 12,000 square feet). The construction began in December 2012 and will be completed in mid-June 2013.

“By 2010, the School of Library and Information Science had totally run out of space,” says Greg Byerly, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science. “There were not enough offices for faculty or staff. Some faculty members were assigned to Ph.D. carrels on the library’s fifth floor, while some staff members were located at counters or in rooms that had previously been closets.”

In May 2010, a proposal was made to the provost to expand the School of Library and Information Science into the Audio Visual Services space. The school then participated in the library remodeling planning process that was completed by the Office of the University Architect from May to September 2010.

“The end result of all this construction and remodeling will be a new School of Library and Information Science,” Byerly says. “The immediate need for offices for faculty and staff will be met. All faculty members will have individual offices. Graduate assistants will have assigned work areas with desks, file cabinets, tables, etc., and there will be offices available for adjunct faculty, grant coordinators and visiting scholars. In addition, the School of Library and Information Science will have offices and rooms for further expansion of its faculty and staff.”

Students will benefit from the renovated space as well. The main office will be more centrally located to better support students, and they will have access to research labs where they can work alongside faculty in designated areas.

“The School of Library and Information Science is not just a ‘library school,’” Byerly says. “In addition to educating librarians, we offer specializations, and in some cases separate degrees, in museum studies, knowledge management, information architecture, particularly user-experience design, and health informatics. This construction will permit these areas to continue to expand and will provide the needed infrastructure to support them.”

The expansion of the school will also allow for expansion of the area for the Marantz Picturebook Collection in the Reinberger Children's Library Center. The Reinberger Center, which opened in 2003, combines a classroom inside of a children’s library. The Marantz Picturebook Collection contains more than 25,000 picture books donated to the School of Library and Information Science by Ken and Sylvia Marantz in 2007.

“The current construction project includes a second physical expansion of the Reinberger Center to include a rare books room to preserve and secure some of the valuable picture books in the Marantz Collection,” Byerly says.

While the construction is going on, it will have little effect on students and classes this semester. The biggest phase of the renovation is remodeling the new space, which can be done first. Also, because the School of Library and Information Science offers many specializations online, there is no need to add classrooms at the moment.

“The project outcome will clearly be for the better,” says Tomas Lipinski, Ph.D., director of the School of Library and Information Science. “We’re looking forward to an expanded state-of-the-art working and learning space. It’s my hope that it will be a showpiece for the campus and for library and information science schools.”

For more information about the School of Library and Information Science, visit www.kent.edu/slis/index.cfm.