Library ribbon cutting opens up a whole new world

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Kori Siebert, Staff Writer

Homecoming week welcomed the Conn Library’s grand opening and ribbon cutting last Friday.

The idea of remodeling Wayne State’s library came about in 2010. In 2012 an architect was hired and spent a year developing a plan for the future library. When 2013 rolled around, WSC had the funding to
start remodeling, and in the spring of 2014 the actual construction started.

“The library doesn’t vaguely resemble what it was before,” said David Graber, library director. “The only thing left of the original building are a lot of the outside walls. All the windows are different—the windows on the south side are greatly enlarged. The old ones used to be gun-slit windows about a foot and a half tall and now they are floor to ceiling, so everything has changed. Things are not in the same place that they were before—every internal wall came down, and it’s like a brand-new building. They just retained the outside shell.”

Graber described the old library as inadequate with not enough space. It didn’t have enough study rooms or space for large study groups. There were also issues with mold, heating and cooling, and asbestos.

“Students are using it in large numbers,” said Graber. “Using all the natural light, replacing all the windows made a huge difference in the building. It’s a much more comfortable building, it’s a much more user-friendly building. We have a lot more study rooms and study spaces for students, so that’s an addition we really needed badly and I’m glad we have.”

Not only have study areas been a big addition to the upgraded library,
but also more tutoring opportunities. The Holland Academic Success
Center was moved from the Kanter Student Center and is now on the
second floor of Conn Library. In the past, all of the tutoring took
place in the student center and other academic buildings.

“It’s very convenient for people there who are studying in the library, so they can just go straight to the tutor,” said junior Kelly Cliffords. “It’s completely different, its way nicer and it’s not as sketchy anymore.”

Cliffords said his favorite part of the new library is the wide-open
spaces for study groups.

Guided tours, an open house and samples from Jitter’s all took place
during the grand opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday. At 4
p.m. President Marysz Rames gave remarks and the recognition of donors
was announced. Following the ribbon cutting and official photos, the marching band gave a special performance.

“It’s not a traditional library where everybody has to talk in a whisper,” Graber said. “The first floor—the people are definitely very social on this floor. We have space on our second floor that is our quiet area that is for quiet study only. So, no matter what your preferred study environment is, I think we can find a space for people here.”