Foley Center Making Some Noise

May 10, 2021
Dale Goodwin ('86)
Foley Center is not your grandparents’ library. Entering the building, group study spaces and computer stations dominate most of the first floor’s landscape where stacks of books once stood. The library’s collections are undiminished, but are increasingly digital. Interspersed throughout the building are study spaces that support a range of needs and preferences. The variety of services offered there have exponentially increased over the past several years, and these transformations in resource services appear destined to continue. 

So says Paul Bracke, dean of library services. He envisions Foley Center becoming a mecca of student and faculty services, bringing people together to study, learn, use Foley’s many digital and print resources, and listen to lectures or multi-media presentations. It’s also a place with many experts are available, including research assistants, Foley’s faculty librarians, Academic Advising and Assistance, the Writing Lab, and Information Technology Services, the Center for Teaching and Advising, Instructional Design and Delivery, and the Center for Climate, Society and the Environment. 

“We have an interesting opportunity going forward, continuing to incorporate more technology into the library function,” Bracke says. “We expanded the number of computer work stations to accommodate more students. We made circulating technology – like video cameras, projectors and laptops – available for student and employee projects. We’re just at the beginning edge of this.” 

“We are looking for ways to improve collaborative work among students and enhance the learning process,” Bracke says. “Many reference books like encyclopedias and handbooks are now online. That gave us room to create a classroom on first floor, giving library faculty a great facility to work with students. It’s also a study space when not being used for classes. There is power and USB ports at every table.” 

“The library has always been a place to gather and study with others, and we still want to provide quiet space for reflection, too. So we’re creating zones within the library to meet different needs, from loud spaces for collaboration to silent study space on the fourth floor. I’m hoping Foley becomes a meeting place and a hub of activity and events for the entire campus community,” Bracke says.