East Central University’s Linscheid Library will showcase its new Collaborative Spaces project with a ceremony and open house from 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24.
The spaces, funded through a $40,000 grant from the Sarkeys Foundation, are located on the northwest corner of the second floor of the library. There are five spaces, approximately 5 feet by six feet, separated by smoked glass. They are all furnished with casual living room chairs, ottomans and benches. Each space comes with a 4.5-foot by 5-foot portable marker board.
Having these spaces will serve multiple purposes with the main benefit of fostering an interactive learning environment, according to Dana Belcher, director of the Linscheid Library.
“With the increase in undergraduate research, the library saw a need to provide more space for collaboration among students and faculty,” said Belcher. “Traditional classroom type space was available, but the library focused on more casual, less formal spaces to encourage personal interaction and endeavors. Housing the space in the library allowed for extended availability with nights and Sundays and there’s close proximity to computers and reference librarians, if needed.”
Another vision for the spaces is increasing student retention through a program sponsored by the Student Government Association.
“The new SGA Student Mentoring Program will make use of the library’s collaborative spaces by providing a space for conversation away from the classroom and office, allowing for more one-on-one interactions between faculty and students,” said Belcher. “The space is fresh and inviting, encouraging anyone walking by to simply stop, sit down, take a long deep breath and regroup.”