After four long years the John Stewart Memorial Library is finally open to the Wilson Community. Since 2011, the library remained closed due to necessary building restoration and reconstruction. Barbara Mistick, President of Wilson College, hosted the opening ceremony for the library last October, however, the library was unable to officially open due to set-backs in construction. With the finished library, students now have access to books in the Wilson library catalogue and spacious study areas that include new furniture, better lighting, rooms with multi-media applications, and computer labs.
Before becoming the Learning Commons Coordinator, Maleah Friedline ’13 worked in the library as a work study student the year before the library was closed for renovations. In response to the new changes, she states, “I think the library looks a lot better than what it was. It’s a lot more open and airy.” Friedline also comments that the Hankey Center has provided displays throughout the building that will change periodically. At the moment one display features different generations of Wilson students.
The changes in space not only allow for a better place for students but for books as well. The preservation of texts is an important task for librarians in order to keep books from unnecessary damage caused by unsuitable temperatures and over-exposure to light.
Kelly Spiese, Reference and Instruction Librarian, comments, “The placement of the books is great. The fact that the books are no longer getting bombarded with sunlight like they were in the old building [is great], they are in a much better place where they can be much better temperature controlled, lighting is better, just the shelves are better.”
However, the changes to the JSM library are more than just cosmetic. Jose Dieudonne, Associate Vice President for Technology and Library Services, has plans to expand the use of the library beyond a storage space for books and a quiet space for study. The library staff plans to include seminars and programs for students and faculty to learn how to use the new technology that is offered.
Spiese says, “I love the technology in the building and how we can use the technology, and not just specifically the librarians using the technology but just how students can use the technology. I want to focus more on how to integrate technology into librarian instruction, how to show students how to use library instruction, how to show students how to research and to find information for their papers and projects, and to go a little bit further and start to offer workshops for faculty and students on different types of technology, and how you can utilize them and how professors can utilize technology in their classrooms.”
One type of technology Spiese plans to incorporate is screen-cast videos to better communicate with students taking online classes and incorporate librarians in virtual references for students to access information online.
Dieudonne states, “It is always a good idea to bring in all the departments for students to make it [the library] the central hub academically. We plan on providing more technology and culpability for learning and also more overall support to have students teaching, learning, and research[ing].” His plan to market the library to students, faculty, and staff allow non-traditional students, such as adult degree students, and students who did not take the First Year Seminar course access to personal librarians. This outreach program will be used to make all students aware of the resources that are available to them.
As the Wilson community continues to grow, it is important that students, faculty, and staff have access to resources to better their education, teaching, and understanding of topics necessary for personal and professional development. The library’s makeover and addition of programs will allow the Wilson community to thrive academically.
If there are questions, comments, or suggestions concerning the library’s new look or programs, please contact Jose Dieudonne at email@example.com.