Last week, Trojan Times wrote about the Mad Labs being constructed in place of Lowry Hall over the course of the next year. So, this week, we thought it might be fitting to report on the construction going on in the Karl E. Mundt Library.
For those that haven’t been keeping up with current events, Information Technology Services (ITS), will be moved from Lowry to the library’s first floor. Due to this, the library has been under construction for the majority of this first semester.
Mary Francis, a librarian of 10 years who has been directly involved in the construction, had some comment; “After some open forums, student surveys and faculty interviews, we are looking to see what the remainder of the construction of the library will be. Hopefully it will be more of a chance to update some things in the library that haven’t had a chance to be updated before.”
In 2018, the Karl E. Mundt Library will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary, and unfortunately, so will some of the interior parts of the library. “Many of the things in the library are very, very original still, and it doesn’t sometimes make sense where things are anymore because things change related to what we have to do now. So, it will be a nice opportunity to expand our space so we know where things are going to go; we can look and think ahead about where people are going to need and spaces like that.”
With the construction of the library, which includes, not just the ITS move but also the updating of some of the older parts of the library, as Francis has stated, there have been some mixed reviews amongst library staff.
Francis herself is excited, stating that, “I think it’ll be nice for the students to come over here to the help desk and to see a little bit about what they do. Sometimes when people come over, they have trouble printing or something like and we can’t help them – we often do – but if we can’t figure it out, we tell them they have to go all the over [to Lowry]. So, now it’ll be a little bit easier for [ITS] to assist with that as well, kind of that service area, since we’re very big on service as well.”
Especially during the winter months, when the snow comes down and there can be temperatures that many students don’t want to spend much time in, having to walk from the library to Lowry and back again can be a huge hassle. So, having ITS in the library itself should make everyone’s lives much easier, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not how everyone thinks. In a letter to the editor in the Madison Daily Leader Extra written by now-retired Mundt librarian, Rise. L. Smith, it was discussed how unhappy the library was with the move.
In the letter, which you can read here, it was stated that, “In my past experience and in what I suspect is the current situation, space decisions were made by a few people at the highest administrative levels without regard for the work/mission of the people who were actually trying to serve students well. If these administrators were willing to sincerely ask, and sincerely listen, they would get good design advice from those in the “trenches.””
When asked about the letter, Francis seemed saddened by it, “I guess part of why we’re really focusing, right now, on getting all the input that we can on the library is so that we can make sure that it’s a very open communication thing and people know what’s going on. That [letter] was kind of [Smith’s] concern, was that they weren’t really discussing and finding out what the needs were. So that’s beyond just wanting to know what students need. That’s another reason to have these things; so we know the communication and they were trying to really get that done soon because they wanted to get Lowry down and get construction started as soon as possible. So, there wasn’t that communication that could’ve made the process a little smoother, and when things are considered about how things are going to go. So, there was some communication that could’ve been improved which is what we’re really focusing on now.”