By Nicole Gennarelli
In 1970, the school moved into its current offices on the third floor of the then-new library, with six faculty members, two staff members and 100 students. More than 40 years later, the school has grown to 22 faculty members, 11 staff members and more than 650 students at locations on the Kent Campus, at the SLIS site in the State Library of Ohio in Columbus and online.
The space being remodeled is on the third floor of the library and was previously used by Audio Visual Services. The remodeling is being completed in two phases. Phase 1 involves the full renovation of the former Audio Visual Services space (14,000 square feet), and Phase 2 involves the renovation of the existing SLIS space (approximately 12,000 square feet). The construction began in December 2012 and will be completed by June 2013.
“By 2010 SLIS had totally run out of space,” said SLIS Associate Professor Greg Byerly, Ph.D. “There were not enough offices for faculty or staff. Some faculty members were assigned to Ph.D. carrels on the library’s fifth floor, while some staff members were located at counters or in rooms that had previously been closets.”
In May 2010, a proposal was made to the Provost to expand SLIS into the Audio Visual Services space. SLIS then participated in the library remodeling planning process that was completed by the Office of the University Architect from May to September 2010.
“The end result of all this construction and remodeling will be a new SLIS,” Byerly said. “The immediate need for offices for faculty and staff will be met. All faculty members will have individual offices. Graduate assistants will have assigned work areas with desks, file cabinets, tables, etc., and there will be offices available for adjunct faculty, grant coordinators and visiting scholars. In addition, SLIS will have offices and rooms for further expansion of its faculty and staff.”
Students will benefit from the renovated space as well. The main office will be more centrally located to better support students, and they will have access to research labs where they can work alongside faculty in designated areas.
“SLIS is not just a ‘library school,’” Byerly said. “In addition to educating librarians, SLIS offers specializations, and in some cases separate degrees, in museum studies, knowledge management, information architecture, particularly user experience design, and health informatics. This construction will permit these areas to continue to expand and will provide the needed infrastructure to support them.”
The expansion of the school will also allow for expansion of the area for the Marantz Picturebook Collection in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center. The Reinberger Center, which opened in 2003, combines a classroom inside of a children’s library. The Marantz Picturebook Collection contains more than 25,000 picturebooks donated to SLIS by Ken and Sylvia Marantz in 2007.
“The current construction project includes a second physical expansion of the Reinberger Center to include a rare books room to preserve and secure some of the valuable picture books in the Marantz Collection,” Byerly said.
While the construction is going on, it will have little effect on students and classes this semester. The biggest phase of the renovation is remodeling the new space, which can be done first. Also, because SLIS offers many specializations online, there is no need to add classrooms at the moment.
“The project outcome will clearly be for the better,” said SLIS Director Tomas Lipinski, Ph.D. “We’re looking forward to an expanded state-of-the-art working and learning space. It’s my hope that it will be a showpiece for the campus and for Library and Information Science schools.”