At long last, Chalmers Library has opened its doors, making it the first facility of the larger West Quad development project to do so. Kenyon students will now have centralized access to a variety of resources that were difficult to find during years of construction, including study spaces and research tools. While the main reading room and other facilities have yet to be finished, here are some key features to note about the new building:
The Winkler Atrium
Upon entering the library, one finds themselves in the atrium, a breathtaking space flooded with natural light. The ceiling is lined with colorful stained-glass panels, which cast vibrant green, purple and orange reflections across the floor and staircases. The area is complete with tables and chairs for studying, and is likely to be a popular spot among students.
Unique Learning Opportunities
In addition to being a beautiful, well-lit space for studying, the library creates new opportunities for enhanced learning. The second floor features the Layburn Innovation Classroom, designed to encourage alternative pedagogical approaches. Devices such as projectors and microphones can be placed on a pipe grid in the ceiling to allow for various potential room layouts, creating interactive experiences. Portable panel displays on carts, which participants can each connect to from their own devices, help to enhance small-group work. On the third floor, the Digital Collaboration Studio and Digitization Lab will give students the chance to edit video content together while using a plethora of digital tools. More information about programs taking place in the labs will become available in the coming weeks.
Chalmers is equipped with advanced technology to assist in student research. Librarians are available for research consultations via appointment, and the Research and Reference Desk is available in person or via virtual chat. There are also curated collections for each academic area of study available, in order to ease the research process. A large portion of the library’s book collection is located downstairs in the lower levels. There, students can find over 250,000 volumes and check them out at the Reference Desk. Students also have access to 450 databases, in addition to inter-library loans from numerous Ohio libraries via OhioLink. Finally, Special Collections and Archives, a key research resource, is located on the L1 floor.
Chalmers Library has a number of study areas to choose from, including large reading rooms spread out across the four floors. The Robert K. Carver Jr. Reading Room on the first floor, which overlooks Middle Path and Peirce Lawn, will be designated as a quiet space to provide a productive study environment for students. Though the space is not quite ready for use, it is expected to open sometime around Labor Day, according to Director for Research and Instruction Julia Warga. On the fourth floor, the Middle Path Treetop Reading Room features spectacular views of Peirce Hall’s tower and the surrounding landscape. In addition to the reading rooms, there are numerous smaller study spaces specifically designed for collaborative work. Students will be able to reserve these rooms and view room schedules on a small screen next to the doors once the technology is operational.
Career Development Office, Office of the Registrar and Writing Center
The library is also the new home to various office spaces: The Career Development Office (CDO), Office of the Registrar and the Writing Center. All are now conveniently located for students, who have often had to walk across campus for specific services in the past. The CDO is located on the second floor, and is a great resource for planning professional opportunities after Kenyon. Just down the hall sits the Office of the Registrar, where students can adjust their class schedules and ensure they are meeting graduation requirements. Finally, the Writing Center has a brand-new section of the library all to itself, which can be found on the second floor. These offices used to be scattered all around campus, but now are centrally located in the same space, making them more accessible for students and faculty.
Chalmers Library is instituting initiatives with the LEED program in mind to improve the College’s energy efficiency. There are showers on the lower floors that encourage employees to bike to work in order to reduce carbon emissions. Rainwater is also being collected at the front of the building to eventually water the plants in the West Quad, which are currently in the early stages of growth.