Students given chance to design library space


WKU Libraries is asking for students’ input in redesigning the Helm-Cravens Library fourth floor.

Students can create, design and submit their ideas on blank floor plans in one of the several stations available, such as the one found in the Cravens fourth floor entrance. The displays will be available for students to use and submit ideas through July, said Interim Dean of Libraries Connie Foster.

“We want a bright, new, inviting place for students to find assistance and collaborate,” she said. “That entrance is one of the main entrances into the library, the other being the entrance by Java City. We want students to fully utilize the space, and right now they’re just not.”

Foster said she’d like for the Cravens entrance to become an “information commons,” where students can research, use computers, study, and work with other students in one central area.

In March, Foster and other library faculty traveled to University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Indiana State University to look at their libraries for inspiration.

Brian Coutts, head of the department of Library Public Services, visited the schools with Foster. He said that each university’s library was unique, but all of them were designed with students in mind.

“Cravens’ fourth floor entrance is just a pass-through place for students right now,” Coutts said. “I’d love to see an attractive space where students can get their information needs met in a single space.”

John Gottfried, coordinator of reference services, also toured the other libraries. He said he was impressed that each library incorporated their university’s personality into the facility.

John Bowers, director of Academic Technology, said he hopes the Cravens entrance can be an “exciting and useful place for students to be drawn to.”

Bowers said putting computers closer to the door for easier student access could add to the new entrance’s appeal.

Gottfried said students should give their input even if they can’t make it to one of the displays.

“There’s no fixed date for this project,” he said. “This is exactly the time students can make their voices heard.”

Coutts said in order for the library renovation to be successful, the library faculty needs to know what students want to see in the new space.

“The successful university libraries we saw had input from students,” he said. “We need to know what the library is doing right and where improvements can be made.”