Saturday, September 22 , 2018, 3:26 am | Fog/Mist 61º

 
 
 
 

Westmont Turns Its Library Into Modern Learning Center

The space is designed to cater to the different ways students study

Westmont College renovated all three floors of its Voskuyl Library this summer, taking out shelves, walls and cubicles, while demolishing traditional ideas of library design and function. The theory of multiple intelligences has shaped new learning spaces throughout the building to better address the different ways people prefer to study.

“These spaces will inspire students to learn, think and imagine,” said Debra Quast, director of library and information services.

Harvard University professor Howard Gardner said schools tend to focus on math and English intelligence but should pay equal attention to other gifts to develop artists, musicians, dancers and entrepreneurs. He identifies eight pathways to learning.

“Some people learn best when moving, touching and doing something,” Quast says. “The improvements wonderfully incorporate the ways students like to learn.” For example, individuals who learn through physical experiences can use three, low-speed treadmills and walk while studying.

Students who respond well to social experiences or need to work in groups will appreciate five group-study rooms on the third floor furnished with flexible seating, tables and white boards. Silence will reign on the first and third floors in specially designed study areas for students who thrive when it’s quiet. The main level houses a new learning commons that includes two rooms equipped with collaborative tables integrated with technology.

“Students can access and share information by allowing everyone present to contribute their ideas seamlessly using laptops interconnected to multiple plasma displays,” Quast says.

The learning commons also has an open lab area with 27 computers and a library instruction lab with another 24 computers. Learning centers feature café-style seating and outlet tracks where students can plug in their laptops; 94 percent of students arrive with these computers.

The renovation, long proposed by former library director John Murray, became feasible when an Orange County insurance firm donated $350,000 worth of movable, compact shelving.

“It has really allowed us to think big,” Quast says.

Students responding to surveys and interviews have repeatedly asked for comfortable, flexible furniture equipped with the technology they like to use and suitable for collaborative work. Quast and Reed Sheard, vice president for college advancement and chief information officer, visited a half-dozen libraries, noting the best features of each. They quickly saw the value of staffing the reference desk with both a librarian and a representative from IT.

“Since many library-based resources involve technology, it’s important that IT and the library form a strong partnership to better serve students,” Sheard said.

The film that darkened the entry windows to reduce the sun’s glare is gone, creating a more inviting entrance. An ocean vista returned to the main floor after workers moved stacks and other materials to the compact shelving on the first floor. The new furniture has been carefully selected so it won’t impede the view. Noise abatement systems, new carpet and paint use a color palette drawn from the natural surroundings.

Student technology fees, capital improvement funds, the library, Information Technology, Writer’s Corner, the Office of Life Planning and the sale of library furniture funded the $600,000 project, the largest library makeover since the facility was built in 1968. Construction took all summer, and the renovation was finished before classes started.

The work involved demolishing walls and ceilings on the first floor, using a crane to move 44 feet of movable shelving stored on the roof, and loading 100 rented book trucks to transfer volumes to new shelves.

The library exterior also has a new look as an accessible ramp and a wooden information kiosk dramatically alter the main entrance to the library.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

 

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >