Learning Commons glass wall
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 2:52pm

The exchange scrawled across a group-study room window in the new Main Library Learning Commons says it all.

“Tell us what you like!”

“Everything!”

The 37,000-square-foot facility opened with the start of the fall semester, and it’s already buzzing with activity—groups clustered in study rooms, solo studiers camped out in nooks, students taking breaks in the centrally located café. A Learning Commons photo gallery and story is available in Iowa Now, and the new facility was also featured in Campus Technology magazine.

The Learning Commons is a major upgrade to the University of Iowa’s Main Library, and the result of collaboration between University LibrariesInformation Technology Services, and the Office of the Provost. Occupying much of the library’s first floor, the whole space is designed for flexibility and interaction.

Students can reserve open study areas and private group study spaces that seat up to six people. In both spaces, they can connect their laptops to LCD screens to display and share content. They have their pick of 100 new desktop computers, and can lounge in the expanded Food for Thought Café with an expanded menu that includes made-to-order sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and other snacks, as well as espresso and gourmet coffees. The space will be open all day and night with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, in direct response to students’ ongoing requests for 24-hour study space on campus.

Students, faculty, and staff will also find the Main Library's Service Desk in the Learning Commons. Library staff will be available to check in and out library materials, and to answer any library questions as well as basic technology and academic questions. The Learning Commons also features a 45-seat TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classroom with glass walls and sliding doors, printers and scanners, TVs and projectors, and multimedia resources.

Construction on the new space included the addition of a new library entrance on Madison Street starting Aug. 26. This and the south entrance, which had been closed during construction, will both be open while the library’s north entrance will close to facilitate the next phase of library renovations. During phase 2 of the renovation, the north entrance will be transformed into a lobby space that leads directly into the Learning Commons.

Please be sure to mark your calendar for an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18.