By Amanda ValentovicSTAFF WRITER
The basement of the Axinn Library is getting a makeover.
What was once a room full of shelves, newspapers and periodicals has been emptied and rearranged to become a new student-friendly lounge area in Axinn Library’s lower level, expected to be completed around Thanksgiving.
Couches, chairs and computer stations will be arranged on the ground floor, much like what students have already seen on the second floor. The lower level’s renovations will mimic the Axinn’s second floor Collaborative Learning Center, but without the group study setup. Instead, it will be oriented for students with independent study habits.
“The space on the second floor was underutilized,” said Joseph Barkwill, vice president of Facilities and Operations.
The second floor was previously the government document section and was infrequently used, like the periodicals.
“The student lounge became so popular and [the basement periodicals] was another space that was underutilized,” Barkwill said.
The renovation project was in talks for about six months with Facilities and Operations, Students Affairs and the library staff working together to improve the lower level. The student input that was used for the second floor remodel was referenced throughout the process. The project was started right after Labor Day, and is on schedule to be finished in November, with the new furniture expected to arrive this week.
According to Barkwill, there will be six new computer stations and wireless internet access for laptop users. There will also be PridePrint stations.
“Students can come here if they have an hour to kill in between classes, or if they just want to sit and read,” Barkwill said.
The second floor was previously home to a federal depository for government documents, a role that Hofstra received from Congress in 1964, according to the library’s website. The John W. Wydler Federal Depository was not often used, and in 2012 the depository collection was condensed from a physical room on Axinn’s second floor to an electronic library.
On the lower level, floor-to-ceiling shelves, some of which were empty, have been removed, and the microfilm readers and periodicals were condensed into nearby rooms. The long, wooden help desk that used to be at the bottom of the main staircase has also been taken out.
“The shelving was so robust and it took up a lot of the space,” said Barkwill. “If you were meeting a friend, you wouldn’t be able to see them; you’d have to walk through.”
Sarah McCleskey, the head of the library’s Access Services, is hopeful that the renovation will encourage students to use the library more often.
“I think people like to have comfortable, beautiful places to sit,” said McCleskey. “We’re so thrilled to be able to get the area redone and make it much more student friendly.”
Freshman Elyssa Hirsch plans to take advantage of the lower level’s new floor plan.
“I would go there to get things done in a comforting environment, and also just to read for fun,” said Hirsch.
Axinn Library is becoming increasingly overpopulated with students, especially during exam periods. Barkwill believes the space will be beneficial overall.
“Students wanted flexibility; they wanted to be able to move furniture, work in collaborative groups,” Barkwill said. “[President Rabinowitz] even made a comment, he sees so many more students in the library than he did in past years, and that’s students’ study habits today – a lot of it is technology. I think it will be a great use of space for the students, and that’s something we have to continuously do, adapt to what students want.”
Future renovation projects in Axinn Library include the lower level bathrooms and possibly the tenth floor