Library expansion: space for expertise and studying

The new Center for Library and Information Resources will rise from the noise and dust of where the Woodruff Library bridge once stood. The center, scheduled to open in 1998, will bring together the expertise of the library and information technology staffs to serve as a gateway to digital resources and provide additional study space for students. There have been questions, though, about why the library needs more space in an era of electronic information.

"We need to continue to deal with print as well as electronic materials; the needs of the disciplines are so varied," said Joan Gotwals, vice provost and director of libraries. "In some areas like medicine or law, a faculty member will say, `we can get everything we need off the Internet or in electronic databases,' but the reality is that in some disciplines, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, print materials continue to play a key role. We have to provide the material that's needed most. Each year, some 700,000 to 1 million print titles are produced globally; you can't close your eyes to that. Our mission is to support academic programs and research, and that still frequently requires books."

The new space in the Center for Library and Information Resources will be a high quality facility surrounding library patrons with a rich array of electronic information resources, print material, librarians, technology specialists, and a range of new computer workstations and software for study and research purposes. "The library remains important as a place for students to study and work together in a rich learning environment," said Gotwals.

Student editorials in The Emory Wheel have noted the lack of spaces for students to work and study together. Gotwals also noted that last spring when Woodruff Library was open 24 hours a day, there were 300-400 people a night using the library between midnight and 8 a.m.

"A growing amount of the library staff's role involves teaching people who come to the library not only what's available, but also how to search and use it effectively," said Gotwals. "The new center will be a bridge between the traditional library and its print collections and the networked information environment in which we now work."

--Jan Gleason

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