Emory Report

May 4, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 31

Hi-tech library addition enjoys
big turnout for dedication

An overflow crowd of several hundred faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends converged April 22 on the new Center for Library and Information Resources (CLAIR) in Woodruff Library to watch the addition's dedication.

Within its 65,000 square feet, CLAIR brings together traditional library resources and electronic information technology to create an integrated environment already heavily used-and praised-by the Emory community. At a total construction cost of $23 million, the addition boasts seating capacity for 1,753 people, 52 miles of fiber-optic cable accomodating 1,250 data lines, 210 individual study spaces, 10 group study areas, 10 classrooms and three seminar rooms.

"This graceful and handsome new building represents more than an addition to the physical resources of University Libraries," said President Bill Chace. "It signifies the University's recognition that we are witnessing a revolution in the way important information about our culture and our lives throughout the world can now be stored, connected and retrieved. Nothing on this campus serves better than the Center for Library and Information Resources as Emory's passport into the 21st century."

Vice Provost and Library Director Joan Gotwals echoed Chace's sentiments. "[This] has brought together the services and staff of the library and the division of Information Technology, provided a bridge between the traditional print and newer electronic resources, and made a vision-a state-of-the-art information resource environment at Emory-a reality."

Construction on the addition began in 1996. The University decided to link Candler and Woodruff libraries, built in 1926 and 1969, respectively. This linkage and its sense of community is represented in the Information Commons, located on three levels of the addition and equipped with public workstations with access to EUCLID as well as the dozens of new online databases made available by the library's Digital Information Resources Council. Users can look up titles in the stacks, peruse online academic journals, print articles and use each station's word processing component to type up the results.

Still, despite all the miles of fiber optic line and the dizzying array of digital media CLAIR puts at users' fingertips, some students are more impressed by its less high-tech benefits. "Despite all the focus on technology, I think this library's true strength lies elsewhere," said junior Robin Thomas at the dedication. "Just strolling through this building you quickly realize its design and space allocation places students again at the forefront. This facility encourages students to stay and study, to linger in this storehouse of knowledge rather than hurry in and out."

Yet the technology cannot be ignored. CLAIR features a distance-learning center and 676 seats wired for data and power. As soon as funding is available, work will begin on the fourth floor's Center for Music and Media, which will house Emory's music, film and video collections, a film viewing room and individual listening carrels. The facility will be able to deliver audio and video over the campus network.

"CLAIR represents a partnership between the converging worlds of the librarian and the information technologist," said Paul Morris, interim vice provost and ITD director. "In a world marked by relentless technological change, our partnership seeks to help faculty and students master this new scholarly environment with skill and confidence."

-Elaine Justice and Michael Terrazas

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