PCL renovation would expand services to graduate students

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The Perry-Castañeda Library will start renovating the ground floor in December 2015. The 7,400-square-foot area will be reconstructed as space for research and studying by graduate students and faculty.  

While plenty of attention is paid to the undergraduate services offered on campus the services offered to graduate students often seem minimal. As part of its Scholars Common pilot, designed to provide graduate students more visible help, the PCL plans to utilize its capacity and resources more effectively to make graduate students and faculty aware that there are PCL spaces and services just for them. 

“On the entry level, I want the graduate students coming to see there’s something for them dedicated to their needs and the way they expect to use space,” said Jenifer Flaxbart, head librarian of research and information services for the PCL. 

It is generally acknowledged that people have different study patterns: Some perform better when studying by themselves, while others are more productive working in groups. 

Though the PCL offers about 135 closed study rooms for Ph.D. candidates, the number of students on the waiting list generally ranges from 5 to 20, according to Flaxbart. With the establishment of Scholars Common, graduate students will have the option of studying in a quiet space or, if they prefer, going to the student landing spot to network with other students.  

In addition, the renovation is a pilot program that may have a bigger impact. After polling key constituencies, the PCL plans to use what it has learned to create larger, more compelling commons to accommodate more people on other floors. 

For now, I just hope that this is a good way to reorganize the space, which can be fully utilized by students’ purposes. 

The PCL is currently completing a survey seeking the opinions of graduate students, faculty, post-docs and staff about the services, spaces and technology support they wish the library could provide. To participate in this survey, visit the following link: http://bit.ly/1GCVAkW.

Liu is an associate editor.