Grainger Library undergoes $680,000 renovation
November 19, 2015
By Lilly Mashayek
Grainger Library is undergoing renovations that will create new collaborative spaces for students and faculty to work together on new ideas and innovations.
The remodeling of the library’s lower west and center wings is currently underway with a budget of $680,000, and the renovations are expected to be finished by January.
The physical copies of 100,000 volumes of older journals, that are also available via a digital copy, were removed from the west and center wings to make room for new offices.
“This is something we’ve been looking at for a number of years,” said Bill Mischo, engineering librarian at Grainger.
Mischo said the new renovations will not take up space that students previously used for studying — actually, he said, there will be more study space for students. Before the renovations the library had room for 1,000 students, but will now have room for about 1,300.
The lower west wing of the library will house several offices and a visualization wall. It will feature 16 large 46-inch monitors mounted on the wall. The center wing will have more offices for students and collaboration tables; the space will also house a 3-D printer.
Mischo said the west wing will initially be open to a select number of students and faculty who are currently working on projects, but the staff at Grainger hopes to open it to all students in the future. The center wing will be open to all students immediately.
“We want to keep it open to everyone, open to students who have a need for these types of resources,” he said.
The space will be used to create the Grainger Library Information, Design, and Data (GLID2) Center.
The GLID2 Center will house four faculty-led projects, such as projects using drones as a tool to help architects and designers who are working in construction sites and a nail polish that functions as a radio-frequency identification device, RFID, that can share a person’s vitals and medical information.
“What we are planning to do (with the center) is bring together four groups that are being led by faculty,” said Andreas Cangellaris, dean of Engineering. Students will work alongside faculty members on the projects.
The faculty members are all a part of the Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellows program, who have been selected through a competition to receive some funding for their projects, Cangellaris said.
“We are very excited,” said Jed Taylor, director of operations at Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC). “We are getting a lot of interest from students and from faculty members.”
“The big thing is that it’s all about collaboration,” Taylor said.
Cangellaris said the projects allow students to explore new ideas and ventures they may not get to within their majors.
“Their degree may not provide them with the opportunity to pursue that passion,” he said. “That experience is worth more than credit hours.”
Grainger will be one of the hubs in a network of innovation all across the university’s campus Taylor said.
“There will be several hubs of this network of innovation, and this one’s focused on data visualization,” he said.
Students will be able to work on their initial designs and ideas at the library and then will able to take those ideas to other labs on campus where they can bring their projects to life.
Cangellaris said these collaborative spaces will facilitate the flow of ideas and thoughts from all students at the University.
“Grainger library belongs to the campus and not just the College of Engineering,” he said. “Everyone is welcome.”