New library to open in January

Students with class on Science Hill will soon have a brand new library, research center and study space nearby.

The Center for Science and Social Science Information will open on Jan. 3 in the Kline Biology Tower basement, according to a Monday press release. The new facility, which will add to and replace the former science library, will also include the social science library and statistical laboratory (StatLab). Administrators said the new center will improve efficiency by providing resources and space to students and researchers, though four of five students interviewed said the new location is less convenient than the previous location.

“We had a close partnership with the libraries already and we found there were a lot of overlaps in our services,” Themba Flowers, manager of Social Science Research Services, said. “This merge will really allow us to consolidate their services.”

The new facility will open just before the previous social science library and research lab, located at 140 Prospect St., are scheduled to be demolished to make room for the two new residential colleges.

Once complete, the new center will contain two levels: one with a 24 hour study-space and a lower level that will hold the center’s 180,000 volumes. Flowers said the new space will promote the interdisciplinary study of science and social science through the respective libraries, which will utilize the information technology resources of StatLab to enhance research. The space will include upgraded computer workstations to enhance research and projects, in addition to classroom spaces.

“I think it will be more a flexible, attractive, and functional study and learning space with much better support with more technology,” Jill Parchuck, director of CSSSI, said.

Parchuck said the move to Science Hill is partly due to an expected increase in enrollment in the sciences, adding that she hopes the new location will not cause too much of an inconvenience for non-science majors.

Several students interviewed disapproved of the change in location. Sociology major Jeffrey Hatten ’12 said that moving social science resources to Science Hill could potentially deter students considering the sociology major and may discourage students from taking sociology courses.

Still, Flowers noted that Rosenkranz Hall, which has a statistical laboratory, will serve as serve as a more central resource for non-science majors.

Parchuck said administrators met last spring with all the chairs of the social science and science departments and all seemed to see the “value of collaboration.”

Plans for the project, which began in 2008, stalled after the economic downturn, but in the summer of 2010 the projects again began progressing “very quickly,” Parchuck said, adding that the center had determined what furniture and technology would be installed by spring 2011. Still, Flowers said administrators remain open to suggestions and that “it’s not a done deal.”

“Things are on schedule so far,” Flowers said. “As with all big projects, things might take a while to reach maximum service, but we’re going to be as close to ready as possible by the third.”

The libraries at 140 Prospect St. and StatLab will close on Dec. 16 as staff begins to transport materials to the new CSSSI facility.

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