The renovations to the Stanislaus State library are almost complete and students should expect to see the finished product when they return to in-person instruction on Oct. 1.
After 50 years of providing service to students, the Vasche Library closed its door the spring of 2019 for renovations to become a modernized space full of technology and study areas. Two years of construction, extended by delays stemming from the pandemic, and $59 million in costs later, the library is tentatively scheduled to be completed on Sept. 23.
According to Dean of Library Services Ron Rodriguez, the campus community’s suggestions weighed heavily on what the new space became. Some important features for students were a café, a 24/7 study area and quiet study areas. All those spaces are included in the renovation.
One feature that didn’t change, however, is the free-flowing staircase connecting the first floor to the second.
“The staircase is really one of the only things that was kept. I’m actually glad we did, because it has become iconic with the campus,” said Rodriguez.
Other than the staircase, the first floor isn’t all that recognizable. Located to the left is an event space and the café. The event space and cafe are much needed and going to be used for a variety of reasons, said Rodriguez.
“We didn’t have a space like this. Before this we would hold events out in the hallway so it’s going to be really nice to have a space like,” said Rodriguez. “Students can come to the café and do homework, study, talk… it’s going to be a really popular space.”
One of the most significant changes is to circulation. The library now has electronic compact shelving and can store more material in less space, which really opened up options to maximize the space of the library. Whenever a student wants to grab some material, they use they electronic panel to open the space and it closes back up whenever they are done. All the shelves are equipped with sensors so there isn’t a concern of a student being trapped as they are closing.
“We have a little over 500,000 physical items and this allows us to have 50 percent less storage. As you need to, you can have it open and select what you need,” said Rodriguez.
Towards the right of the new library are computer commons area, quiet study rooms and the disabilities service suites. Knowing the quiet study area is important to students, they equipped it with modernized technology to make sure students have all the resources they need, according to Rodriguez.
The first floor also includes group study rooms, a lactation room, open seating, the assistive technology room and all gender restrooms (which are throughout the library).
A new mural adorns the wall by the staircase. It was inspired by the importance of agriculture to the Turlock community.
“One of the main things we wanted to do is pay homage to the agricultural legacy of Central Valley. And so, when possible, and there were little motifs, or little styling cues that are that call attention to the heritage of the past,” he said.
Everything has a purpose in the new library, even the color schemes. Orange areas were utilized to signify this is an activities space, where a lot of collaborative work happens.
The OTI service desk and writing center have been moved to the second floor. The floor has also been equipped with updated classrooms.
“If a student wants to highlight something that they’re finding, the instructor and manipulate it so everyone can see it,” said Rodriguez. “This has been a dream for decades; it’s designed towards instruction.”
There are plenty of computers, group and quiet study areas and open seating on the second floor as well. The older library had nine quiet study areas and now they were able to more than double that to 19. The open seating has comfy couches where students can study, talk or even take a quick nap between classes.
The third floor has completely new areas to the library. There are quiet study and reading rooms for students who are looking for no distractions. There are also additional collection rooms as well.
With the increase of services, students will have a central location to meet a lot of their needs.
“It’s going to increase access to computers, increase collaboration and increase access to services. It’s going to make this a one-stop shop,” Rodriguez said.
The university is planning to host an event to celebrate the completion of the renovations, and a date will be announced as the library gets closer to being completed.