By Rachel McDanielThe Dorothy W. Hightower Library will get a full makeover as renovations begin in the coming months. Books, supplies, computers and equipment are currently being moved to the library’s new location for the next year: the Instructional Complex building, rooms, 112, 116 and 117. The library is expected to move full-time to the Instructional Complex building in mid-June and reopen sometime around March 2016.’We currently have two floors and seating for approximately 325 to 350 students, and the campus has outgrown this space. With the renovation, we will almost double that number with a little over 525 seats and areas for students to study,’ said library director Dr. Sonya Gaither. ’We will have individual, quiet study areas as well as collaborative study rooms. We will go from six study rooms to 21 rooms that will include group study rooms with computers in them with large monitors and individual study rooms with tables and chairs.The entire building will have wireless internet access and we do have laptop computers that students can check out so if there is not a computer available in a study room – they can also bring in their own devices.’The Gordon College archives – and a large number of lesser used items that haven’t been checked out in five years or more – are being moved for permanent storage at Guillebeau Hall. The books will still be accessible to students but library staff will have to retrieve the requested items and appointments can be made to do archival research at Guillebeau Hall. Moving the items out of the library will provide much more room to meet other needs.’Libraries in the past were built to store books and house resources, but now they are being built more for people and collaborations, so we are moving a large section of books out so we can open the library up and allow for more study space and more computers in the building,’ said Gaither. ‘We will go from having 27 computers to 34 computers for students. We will also have two enclosed 30-seat classrooms so we can open a partition and it will become a large room that seats 60 people.’The renovated library will also have an assistive technology room downstairs which will be equipped with computer hardware and software for anyone with hearing or visual challenges. The makeover will leave the library as a shining example of a modern, technologically updated learning space. ‘Our library is going to be wonderful when it is renovated,’ said Beverly Eskridge who has worked at the library for 25 years. ‘It was built in the 1970s and other than carpet and paint, nothing has ever really been renovated. We will return to an open floor plan concept with movable spaces that allow study areas to be configured as needed. In the meantime, everything has to be moved – every filing cabinet, every book, every office – but when we will return, the building will have new windows, a new entrance and a new look.’ Gaither said library staff are trying to document the move and can be followed on the Dorothy W. Hightower Library – Gordon State College Facebook and Instagram pages.The library is currently open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday. The move to the Instructional Complex will be finalized in midJune.
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