Southeast’s Kent Library to Get Comfy New Makeover

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Jan. 17, 2006 – Starting this spring, Southeast students will not only be able to study and conduct research in the University’s Kent Library, they’ll also be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, relax and read the newspaper, among other things.

The entire east side of the main level of the library is currently being remodeled, according to Dr. Sarah Cron, dean of Academic Information Services and director of Kent Library. The updates should be completed by February, Cron said.

The new look and feel of the library should add to the appeal for students.

“We want to make an attractive and comfortable place for students to come to study and meet with the groups they study with,” Cron said. “It’s a very new look, pretty shocking really, considering we haven’t changed the appearance since the 1960s. It will be a much more appealing and functional space for people to enjoy.”

The updates will be the first significant remodeling in 35 years to the portion of the Kent Library building that remains devoted to library functions, according to Cron.

The newly-remodeled space will not only feature new tile floors, carpeting and updated furnishings, it will offer students a welcoming and inviting space to study, relax and socialize.

“There will be comfortable seating, including chairs with ottomans and couches, and a coffee cart where students can get coffee and pastries,” Cron said.

Some of the seating will be equipped with lap arms that swing around to accommodate laptop computers, and some chairs are on wheels to allow students to arrange the seating to meet their needs, according to Cron.

“Many assignments given to today’s students are group projects,” she said. “We want to create spaces that will easily allow students to work together on these assignments. They will be able to meet with their colleagues, get some coffee and work on their project in the library.” 

The library currently has laptops that can be checked out at the circulation desk, and wireless capabilities, in addition to desktop computers, Cron said.

“It won’t feel like a regimented computer lab environment; it will have a nice atmosphere,”   she said. “The desktop computers will be scattered throughout the area on desks, allowing several people to gather around a single monitor with enough space to spread out their materials. Our goal is to make the space warmer, more inviting, and less institutional.”   

Another feature that will help students work together is the addition of two conference rooms, according to Cron. The rooms, each of which will accommodate six to eight people, will be outfitted with a conference table and chairs, a white board and computer drops, Cron said.  

The updates also will include displays of the library’s newest books, best sellers and a variety of newspapers, Cron said.

“Students will be able to relax, read the newspaper and have a cup of coffee,” she said. “It will be a much nicer place for people to enjoy spending time.”

Southeast senior Tyler Dunn, an art major from Kingdom City, Mo., is enthusiastic about the changes to the library.

“I like the idea of creating a place where students can relax while we study, and grab a coffee,” Dunn said.

In order to make room for the updates, Kent Library’s reference section will be moved to the third level of the building and will become part of the future “Information Commons,” which is the next phase of remodeling, according to Cron. That portion of the project is currently scheduled to begin next summer.