New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Hunter College Libraries – Main Campus Library 3rd Floor Renovation

Sarah Laleman Ward, Outreach Librarian   

The Main Library, consisting of nine floors in the East Building of the Hunter College campus at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue, is undergoing a “phased capital renovation” over the next several years. As of September 2013, phase one is complete with the opening of the new 3rd Floor.
Envisioned by the President’s Task Force years ago, the new, LEED-certified 3rd Floor includes a variety of individual and collaborative work spaces as well as a centralized place to meet a number of student needs.  

Upon entering the library, students are greeted at a Welcome Desk that includes touch-screen wayfinding stations. Additional wayfinding is aided by directional lines on the floor, echoing the design of New York City’s subway maps, which lead visitors to various areas of the 3rd floor:  blue lines take you to entrances, exits, elevators and stairs; red lines take you to service desks; yellow leads you to places to work and study; orange leads to places to help yourself like self-checkout, a supplies vending machine and water bottle refill stations.
Our state-of-the-art Information Commons is an area where students can work individually or in groups, and can receive assistance from Reference Librarians, Reading/Writing Center Tutors, and tech support from Instructional Computing and Information Technology (ICIT). The functions of the Circulation Desk and the Reserves Desk have been centralized as well, allowing for one place to check out all the books one may need.

In order to foster work among groups of students, many of the surfaces on the 3rd Floor are made of whiteboard material, allowing for spontaneous collaboration. Whiteboard markers are available for check-out at the Welcome Desk, and available for purchase in the supplies vending machine.
Outside of the library on the 3rd Floor of the East Building, students now have a place to get coffee and snacks as well as a place to sit and eat them. Since food is not allowed in the library, this is a welcome addition to the area. The Digital Diner area, in addition to being a nice place to eat, also has whiteboard surfaces on the tables and outlets and computer screens for collaborative work over coffee.

The 3rd Floor has been jam-packed with students since opening earlier this semester. There is frequently a line for computers in the Information Commons. But when we tell students waiting in line that we have computers elsewhere in the library the response is often “Thanks but I’ll wait. It’s nicer here.”