Welcome back, Bearkats,
While work has been ongoing during the summer of 2020, labor and materials delays have hampered efforts to complete more of the renovation prior to the start of the fall semester. The contractors, SHSU facilities and IT, as well as personnel across all areas of the library are giving maximum effort to provide some vital computing and study spaces within the Newton Gresham Library (NGL) during the continuing renovation.
Many members of the campus community have asked what can be expected if you are using the library this fall. Here is a brief list of changes and ongoing work you will encounter when you visit. In general, as you will see across campus, available seating has been significantly reduced in order to lower the density of occupants and provide for social distancing in accordance with campus and CDC guidelines.
The main entry point to the NGL on the building's 2nd level will be shifting between the south and north sets of doors during the ongoing work during the fall semester. Eventually the new main entry will be a larger passage expanding the south side location. Signage will be provided to direct you to the appropriate entry point as this moves back and forth during construction.
The large IT@Sam computer lab on the 2nd floor has been updated – and this space should be ready for use on the first day of classes. The main library service desk near the 2nd floor entry will also have a new look and has shifted to the south. Over the next several weeks additional new spaces will become available for seating and study on both the 1st and 2nd floors; in the meantime, the 3rd and 4th floors will continue to offer seating and study options, as well as individual study rooms that can be reserved online.
Throughout the fall semester, new spaces will be completed and made available for use – which should include more seating and study spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors, patio seating around the east and north sides of the 1st floor. At the beginning of next year 2021, the renovation should be completed, adding four new instructional spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors as well as a remodel of the Starbucks coffee shop.
You can continue to checkout library materials at the 2nd floor service desk as well as the 1st floor satellite circulation desk. Research support will continue to be provided by librarians offering a variety of online chat, appointments, and limited face-to-face options. The 1st floor entry will continue to be available for the first couple months of the renovation; there will be a new 1st floor entry added closer to the parking lot, but that will not be completed until October (at the earliest.) The Music Listening Room will be available, as will the Special Collections and Archives. Copy Services and Interlibrary Loan will continue, though in a more limited fashion at the beginning of the semester as their workspaces are currently being demolished and rebuilt.
The most current version of the phasing schedule for the renovation is available on the NGL Renovation website. This will give you some idea of what to expect in certain locations of the library at various times of the semester. In general, the noise from the abatement/demolition and construction work will be most disruptive in areas immediately adjacent (including above/below) to the location under renovation. NGL will try to provide some information on expected areas of increased noise as these shift during the following weeks and months. Noise mitigation measures will be used, but the reality is that NGL will not be as amenable a space for study this semester as you've previously been accustomed.
Beyond the disruptions of the renovation, SHSU is also working to create and maintain a safe environment for library users and employees during this challenging time of the pandemic. Some of the measures being implemented include:
- Deep cleaning of the Facility (CDC approved sanitizer & disinfectant)
- Increased cleaning frequency of all high touch surfaces
- Sanitization of equipment (CDC approved sanitizer & disinfectant)
- Plexi-glass barriers at service locations for customer/employee protection
- Line stanchions and floor markers
- Table and chair configurations to encourage 6' spacing
- Increased availability of sanitizer
NGL continues to provide core library services, including materials checkout and returns, as well as reference and research support, in mailing, virtual/online and limited contact options.
For more information, visit the NGL Renovation website.
Eric D. Owen
Executive Director of Library Services