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Loyola at a Glance

Monroe Library gets a new look

December 5, 2008

The first floor of Loyola University New Orleans’ J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library, known as the Learning Commons, has recently received a makeover.

The Learning Commons is a collaborative space where students, faculty and staff can come together to study, learn, teach, create and socialize. At the Learning Commons desk, individuals can receive assistance with standard circulation, research and technology questions. Users wanting or needing more in-depth knowledge are connected to appropriate experts, materials, programs or workshops.

Last year, space consultant Bill Dittoe worked with the library, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the department of Information Technology, the Student Library Advisory Committee and student workers to create a vision for the area.

As a result, planners created six distinctive areas: a laptop/collaboration area, a computer area, a multimedia project area, a café area, a reading alcove and the “Porch,” a transitional seating area between the laptop and desktop areas. The commons received new furniture and computers. The multimedia area now includes new workstations and scanners.

Ria Newhouse, Learning Commons coordinator, witnesses the enthusiasm from the students firsthand.

“So many of the comments about the new spaces have been utterly positive – the new spaces truly support new ways of learning. I have the benefit of having the Learning Commons right outside my door and everyday I have the opportunity to see students truly engaged in what they’re doing,” Newhouse said.

“They work in groups, alone, with partners, etc., doing everything from quadratic equations to art critiques. It’s so much fun to see students so involved in their education.”

The new space design is also encouraging the faculty to use the technology and seek assistance with research, circulation and reserves. Faculty also uses the new café area, Common Grounds, to meet together and with students.

According to Mary Lee Sweat, dean of libraries, the future holds more in store for new development.

“We hope to continue to work in other areas of the library to foster faculty development and support research and technology instruction for the students. We want to encourage the use of our physical collection, expand the virtual collection and introduce new technology applications,” she said.

The floor plan for the new layout can be found here and photos of the new configuration can be viewed here.

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