JTR 3.0: Library Renovation Continues to Phase 3

Illustration by Vasilko Architects & Associates

Over the past year, library staff members have engaged colleagues across Academic Affairs, Information Services, and elsewhere in the university to complete planning for Phase 3 of the John T. Richardson Library renovation (scheduled for summer 2017). Like Phase 2, which allowed us to launch highly-successful programs such as the Learning Commons and the Scholar’s Lab, and to promote services provided by campus partners such as Supplemental Instruction and the Office of Multicultural Student Services, Phase 3 promises to bring exciting new opportunities for the library and the DePaul community.

A centerpiece of the next phase of the renovation will be the expansion of the open-plan computing employed in the Information Commons to the second floor of the library. While this next phase will include familiar elements such as media:scape tables used to promote collaborative work “in the open,” it will also include a new array of higher-end computers and workstations designed to promote collaborative work in emergent areas such as digital scholarship, data science, and media content creation. This Collaborative Research Environment (CoRE) builds on our earlier experience launching the Scholar’s Lab, and represents the library’s continuing commitment to provide DePaul students and faculty with a full range of technologies needed to support innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and scholarship.

The technology available in the CoRE will be complemented by new technology, programs, and services in the Maker Hub and “1581,” a suite of studios designed to support digital media creation, evaluation, and use. The Maker Hub will be the first “maker space” accessible to all members of the DePaul community, and will serve as the centerpiece for the growing network of “maker” technologies and programs available in spaces across campus and the City of Chicago. The Maker Hub will include 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons, sewing machines, tools designed to support simple coding and robotics, and more, and will be a space that evolves along with maker programs at DePaul. 1581, taking its name from the example set by technology and entrepreneurship centers such as 1871 (and from one of the most important dates in DePaul history), will provide access to digital audio and video composition and content creation, as well as small studios designed for usability research, green-screen video, and digital imaging.

Finally, like Phase 2, the upcoming phase of the library renovation will provide an opportunity to expand and extend our partnership with other DePaul programs, including FITS, Studio CHI, the Cross-College Collaboration Task Force (C3TF), and the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. After helping to support the launch of digital scholarship programs at DePaul in the Scholar’s Lab, the library is excited to offer a permanent home for Studio CHI in the Richardson Library, in a space adjacent to the studios at 1581. The collaborative and innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and scholarship at DePaul fostered by programs like Studio CHI and the C3TF will be promoted not only by those spaces, but also by The Idea Lab, a space designed to promote collaborative approaches to teaching and scholarship that make use of emergent technologies. Bringing Studio CHI, C3TF, and FITS together with the library resources and expertise to be housed on the second floor of the Richardson Library will provide new opportunities for students and faculty to develop the new approaches to academic work required today, and to make connections between that work and the broader environment for innovation in the City of Chicago.

We appreciate all of the ideas and support we have had from faculty and other campus partners throughout the planning process, and for the support we have had from DePaul leadership, including Provost denBoer and President Holtschneider. We look forward to welcoming you to JTR Phase 3 in Fall 2017, and will be providing additional information on the new spaces and services throughout the summer (including information regarding how to reserve these new spaces for work with fall quarter classes). Please watch the library blog for future announcements, including faculty tours of the new space in the fall and a “grand opening” (Date TBA).

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