Searching for a new favorite study spot? Check out West Virginia University’s Evansdale Library.

Phase one of the library’s extensive renovation has transformed the building’s second floor into an aesthetically pleasing space conducive to studying, researching, collaborating on group projects or taking a break between classes.

“The designers have done a wonderful job creating a space that is inspiring and relaxing,” Evansdale Library Director Mary Strife said. “Whether students need to work or recharge, they are going to really like spending their time at the Evansdale Library.”

The bright, open layout allows visitors to quickly survey the space to identify an available carrel, study room or comfortable chair. Options are plentiful: 25 study rooms, a quiet-study room that seats 46 people, 84 study carrels, a cyber bar, and multiple comfortable seating areas.

Natural light cascades into the space thanks to the interior glass walls of the study rooms lining the floor’s perimeter. The walls’ upper portions are clear glass, and the lower are frosted.

“We think the glass walls are a great addition. You have a view of the outside from almost anywhere on the floor,” Strife said.

More room to work together on projects and more quiet space topped student requests for the redesigned floor. Ten new study rooms bring the floor’s total to 25. When it’s time to shut out distractions and concentrate, students can move to the quiet study room. Posted signs discourage conversations and cellphone use.

“As we’ve seen from other deep-quiet study areas throughout the Libraries, students are great at self-policing,” Strife said. “Noise is seldom a problem.”

Another interesting feature is a cyber bar, which will be a convenient location to work on laptops and tablets or charge mobile devices. A long counter runs along one side of a large curved structure with 10 tall stools and is accented by multiple hanging pendent lights. The other side of the cyber bar, the curve’s interior, houses bookshelves that will probably hold the library’s play collection.

When a student is ready for a break, he or she can grab a book from the leisure reading collection and relax in one of the several soft seating groupings.

Inspiration is just a glance away. Two large murals, honoring some of the great minds and innovators from centuries past, frame the front and rear entrances.

One gold, the other blue, they are emblazoned with the faces of Alexander Graham Bell, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Sally Ride, William Shakespeare, and Booker T. Washington, along with images of Chuck Yeager’s plane, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, and Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. The words “discovery,” “innovation,” “creativity,” and “knowledge” are interspersed throughout.

“We are very happy with the transformation of Evansdale’s second floor,” Interim Dean of Libraries Myra N. Lowe said. “Students told us what they wanted in the space, and we are eager to see them make it a central location in their academic pursuits.”

The second phase of the project – renovating the first floor and lower lever – will occur in summer 2014.



CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, development representative, WVU Libraries

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