Constructed in 1986, the Bower-Suhrheinrich Library needed an interior renovation and technological upgrade to accommodate the ever changing needs of students today. With its location near the Ridgway University Center and the Great Lawn, creating connectivity to these places was important. Large portions of the original opaque limestone façade were converted to full height glass openings to allow sightlines to the Great Lawn and to flood the library’s interior with natural light. In addition, shelving was removed to create a flexible, open, and highly active Information Commons where students are free to work in collaborative groups to complete projects.
In order to accommodate the fluctuating changes that occur within libraries in the information age, zones of differing levels of interaction including private, semi-private and public discourse were created to occur concurrently. The stations are fitted out with furniture and technological equipment allowing personal electronic devices to connect to the attached smart monitor.
Distinctive furniture and lighting was selected as an integral part of the interior design and is used as a way to help differentiate between the different collaborative zones within the Information Commons. The library has been well received since opening. Students really enjoy the bright new space to study and work together with their classmates. The University also uses this new facility as part of their recruitment efforts and makes sure to take prospective students to see the library when they are on campus for tours.