Fall 2020 Renovation Reopening Message

Happy New Year, Bearkats,

The renovation of the Newton Gresham Library is finally beginning to wind down. Work continued throughout the fall of 2020, and even with materials delays, much of the planned remodeling and upgrades to the 1st and 2nd floors of the building have been complete when classes begin on January 13th. There are a few spots still receiving attention, but we are excited to share the large amount of additional public spaces and services that will be available in our library. Due to the efforts of all library personnel, SHSU facilities, IT@Sam, and the contractors, the library has been able to continue to provide instructional and research support services, computing and study space, and many options for contactless material pickup and virtual reference assistance.

When you visit the library, you will notice changes to the entries on both 1st and 2nd floors. The new main entry point to the building’s 2nd level is a larger passage on the south side of the central façade. An exterior trellis system on ceilings above leads you into the remodeled 2nd floor lobby. The main library service desk near these doors has a new look and is located just to your right as you enter the building. The large IT@Sam computer lab remains in its former location and has received many updates.

Looking to your left as you enter, you will see the new location for the Academic Success Center – offering numerous services to assist students, including tutoring in mathematics and writing, supplemental instruction, peer mentoring, programs for first year college students, and much more. You will also see the Starbucks has received some attention and is getting the final facets of a facelift in its former location. Both of these operations plan to reopen on January 19th.

Near the end of the fall semester, some of the new spaces had been substantially completed and made available for use. A new 1st floor entry has been created (closer to the east parking lots), and we are waiting for the installation of railings to complete the ADA access ramp later this month. As we begin the spring semester, you will have access to more seating and study spaces across the 1st and 2nd floors, as well as an additional computer location on the 1st floor. We will be installing patio seating around the east and north sides of the 1st floor in the coming months. Four new instructional spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors are also in the last stages of completion. All restrooms on the 1st and 2nd floors have been remodeled, with added gender-neutral single occupant restrooms on both floors, and have a new mothering room for use on the 2nd level. The renovation has also added over 15 new group study rooms on the 1st and 2nd floors which will become available for general use once the reduced density and social distancing protocols on campus are lifted.

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, appointment and limited face-to-face options. Copy Services and Interlibrary Loan now operate out of remodeled spaces with a small shared hallway at the existing Copy Services entry. The Music Listening Room is available (with a remodeled ceiling).

As you will see across campus, socially distanced seating will still be in place in the Library. While this significantly limits the amount of seats available, in order to reduce the density of occupants in accordance with campus and CDC guidelines, you should still be able to find a comfortable new spot (or even a familiar cozy location on the 3rd or 4th floors).

SHSU continues efforts to create and maintain a safe environment for library users and employees during the pandemic. Many measures implemented in the fall and continuing this semester 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
  • Quarantine of library materials after use and before reshelving
  • Table and chair configurations to encourage 6’ spacing
  • Increased availability of sanitizer

In addition, the Library, along with most buildings on campus, is receiving improved air filters and UV-C lighting to reduce the potential for airborne transmission of viruses.

Welcome back in 2021, we look forward to your exploration and use of the renovated Newton Gresham Library this spring, and we remain dedicated to providing exemplary service whether in person, or via virtual and online options.

For more information, visit the NGL Renovation website.

Eric D. Owen
Executive Director of Library Services