MCCC Library packs up ahead of renovation

Kayla Richards, technical services assistant, begins the process of labeling and packing away MCCC’s many books. The books will stay in storage while the library is being renovated. Only the most relevant books will be physically reshelved in the new space as the majority of library materials will remain online (Photo by Elisabeth Brockman).

A library is typically thought of as a place to collect hefty books and find a corner to quietly study.

MCCC is challenging this view as books are packed up to make room for a more updated learning environment, said Jack Burns, director of campus planning and facilities.

In the next year, the MCCC Library will become a place that has physically collaborative spaces and online resources that extend past the library’s limited shelving space.

“The library is to be a more active, vibrant community space,” Burns said.

The MCCC Library is beginning the “mothballing” process of sorting and packing away every item in preparation for the renovation project starting in June. While the library is closed, all services will be available online. Even when the library reopens, online programs will be left in place.

Burns said the C Building, encompassing the library, is scheduled to undergo a major renovation starting June 21 of this year, with completion planned for June of 2022.

All the books that have been accumulated since the library first opened are being sorted, relabeled and packed away, said Library Director Laura Manley. She said the books will be stored at the Whitman Center in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms to protect them from damage until they can be reshelved.

Packing is a big task because the library has nearly 15,000 items, including books, CDs and various other objects, said Technical Services Assistant, Kayla Richards. She said part of the organizational process has been the relabeling of every item to shift from the Dewey Decimal Classification system to the Library of Congress’s system of organization.

“Everything will be ready to place right on the shelves next year,” Richards said.

From now on the library will focus on keeping and purchasing only the most relevant and often used books for the college’s physical collection, said Manley.

Manley said building up an extensive inventory of books is not worthwhile for the college because of limited funds, lack of space and largely because students rarely check out books.

Instead, she said, the Library has opted to offer online books through ProQuest. Students will have immediate access to ProQuest’s wide variety of peer reviews and scholarly sources.

Manley said this also benefits the college because it is Demand Derived Acquisition, so only eBooks that students use for a prolonged period are purchased from the site.

With the library to be closed during the 2021-2022 school year, spaces will be diverted elsewhere on campus and resources will be available online.

If students require help navigating the library’s online resources or help with information’s literacy, librarians are available.

The C building will be undergoing renovations in the coming year. The first-floor library will contain huddle areas, an art gallery, and open spaces (Design courtesy of Jack Burns).

The first point of contact is directly with a librarian through the 24/7 live chat, said Manley. The chat can be found on the MCCC Library’s homepage at https://www.monroeccc.edu/library. Students can also email librarians at askalibrarian@monroeccc.edu.

Computer labs, printers and study areas that students would normally find in the library, will still be available in the recently renovated Founders Hall, Manley said.

Despite the inconvenience of not having a library for a year, the renovation will update and enhance the campus grounds as well as make a place more conducive to collaboration and learning, Burns said.

Burns said that as the project director, he has been an intermediary between the college and the architects to produce a space that encompasses a new vision for the C Building.

The Library plans to incorporate an art gallery, huddle rooms and an outside area facing the pond, Burns said.

He said the design also gives easier access to Parking Lot 7. Instead of walking all the way around the building, there will be a direct route to the Library.

The new design will adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act, so it will be accessible to everyone, Burns said.

He said the elevator that is now found by going through the back loading dock will be conveniently located in the front corridor.

Parking Lot 7, adjacent to the C Building, will be closed to students and faculty for the duration of the renovations in order to reserve space for the project, Burns said.

Whether in person or virtually, the library and librarians will continue to be dedicated to helping students. The library will remain physically open during the 2021 Summer Semester from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Manley said.

She said a library closure may sound like a halt in learning, but for MCCC the library will be thriving online and looking forward to moving back into a beautiful new space.