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Planning Park Library's future

Master plan will guide changes to best serve CMU

Contact: Dan Digmann

​​In the rapidly changing world of learning, where technology and electronic resources are replacing print and physical materials, a new plan provides the framework to ensure the Central Michigan University Park Library will continue and enhance quality academic support for teaching, learning and research.

The CMU Park Library Master Plan designates usage themes for each of the library's four floors and focuses on providing flexibility for ever-evolving learning space needs among students and faculty. These designations will help guide what services and features fit into the library's overall academic support goals. The floor themes are:

• First floor – Entry Level, Extended Hours Access, Community Outreach
• Second floor – Resource and Service-Rich, Collaborative Spaces
• Third floor ­– Student and Academic Support
• Fourth floor – Teaching Support and More

The plan, coordinated by CMU Facilities Management, was developed following a series of campus engagement processes such as interview sessions and collecting user comments.

"During the 2013 Campus Master Plan, students identified Park Library as their favorite indoor place on campus; a place that we should not 'mess up' as the campus continues to evolve," said Linda Slater, Facilities Management director of plant engineering and planning. "The Park Library Master Plan will allow us to move forward with confidence in evaluating and implementing changes to the Park Library ensuring that it remains a preferred space for learning and studying." 

This plan doesn't call for immediate upgrades and changes throughout the facility. Instead it is available to guide changes as they're requested and needed, said Tom Moore, dean of libraries.

"This master plan will assure faculty and staff that down the road Park Library will continue as a central location for library and academic support services," he said. "We know the library facility is a living asset for the university that will change with the times and with the needs of our CMU community."

This is evident in adjusting to changes in technology. The Park Library renovation and expansion project completed in 2002 included installing 2,500 hard-wired computer connections and the equivalent of 33 miles of movable shelving to store more than a million volumes of books. In the 14 years since then, the entire campus now has wireless Internet access, and the library purchases digital versions of many books and most periodicals.

"For most subjects, students and faculty now prefer to use digital information sources," Moore said. "We're going to start phasing out some of the unneeded materials and shelving to free up floor space. The master plan will help us determine what will occupy those spaces."

Such a shift in needs is prompting the first project proposal guided by the master plan. Shelving and printed reference collections on the second floor will be relocated or eliminated to make room for movable furniture, collaborative study spaces, and learning technology. It is anticipated the project will cost approximately $500,000 and will be completed by the start of classes this fall.

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