libraryphoto by Julie Mauldin, senior staff photographer


Libraries on Campus to Receive Some 'TLC'


Myles Womack
Senior Staff Reporter


UAB Libraries have been a hub for students looking to learn, find useful tools to academic and career success and create meaningful friendships.


NowMervyn H. Sterne Library and the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences (LHL) will be renovated for the Center for Learning and Teaching, the Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research, the Vulcan Materials Academic Success Center, Education Abroad and National and International Fellowships and Scholarships according to a recent press release


According to the UAB Reporter, over $2 million has been invested in collections, resources and personnel “dedicated to physical” renovations and improvements.


“Libraries have changed a lot,” said Pam Benoit, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs. “There's a lot of material that's now available in digitized form as opposed to books that you're checking out at the library.”


Benoit said accessing databases that contain more disciplinary information is not usually something an individual can go and get anywhere.


“We have to buy memberships to those various companies that provide access to articles and various fields,” Benoit said. “I think it's important to think of a library as an information reserve. That's where information resides that you can't just get off of the internet.”


Library users will have access to RapidILL, an unmediated interlibrary loan system introduced to UAB in October 2018 that guarantees access to requested available digital articles within 24 hours.


According to the UAB Reporter, in LHL, four 3-D printers and associated materials are being prepared for use by library patrons, and 18 models of physical items using the printers and are available for checkout.


Benoit said that Sterne Library is currently in logistics planning as stacks are being moved from the second to the third floor of Sterne.


“We will work on renovating the third floor for students,” Benoit said. “I've been up there recently, and the third floor could use a little TLC. It needs new carpeting. It needs some new desks. So, we'll work on that.”


Jordan Gill, senior in chemistry, said he can focus better at Sterne versus other places on and off campus.


“I like to go to the quiet zone sections they have towards the back,” Gill said. “Sometimes I'll study with friends in the study rooms they have here. When I just want to go and do work and focus on reading stuff, Sterne library is pretty good for that.”


Sterne and neighboring university buildings will see major changes to all of its infrastructure throughout the year in order to accommodate space.


Benoit said the Education Building will be torn down starting in October of 2020.


“The reason we're tearing it down is because there are infrastructure issues in that building,” Benoit said. “It's not really suiting the needs of the people who are in that building currently.”


Benoit said the school of Education and the aforementioned programs in the Education Building, will be moved to the business side of the Business Engineering Complex in August this year after it goes through renovation.


“It's a newer building actually,” Benoit said. “It will be a really nice facility for them so all of the education students and education faculty will get a better place for them to do their work.”


Benoit said after the Education Building is taken down, there are plans to put a science and engineering complex in that location which will have a really good footprint and will be built in phasesThe first of those phases will be for biology and chemistry.


“It will primarily be a research collaboration space and there are multiple phases which eventually we hope to include engineering,” Benoit said.


On Jan. 22, it was announced via press releasethat Kasia Gonnerman has been selected as the next dean of UAB Libraries.


“When she gets here, I'm sure she'll be looking at what kinds of facilities we're providing in the library and what it is that she would like to have as part of her vision,” Benoit said.


Benoit said Gonnerman will be talking to students and faculty about the libraries going into the future.


“Whenever we figure out how to make the moves to make the university better, we're thinking about how we can best serve students and faculty and staff,” Benoit said. “These decisions are not made in a vacuum. These are the things really directing the kind of decisions that we make.”