Learning Commons completed


UI Libraries opens new 24-hour, tech-filled study space as academic year begins

By Mary Geraghty Kenyon for Iowa Now

When the new academic year begins Monday, Aug. 26, the University of Iowa will open the new Learning Commons in the Main Library, a tech-infused, 24-hour, comfortable study space and one-stop academic help center…with good coffee.

The 37,000-square-foot space is the product of a partnership involving Information Technology Services (ITS), University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost.

Incoming students participating in On Iowa! will have a preview of the new space on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., including the opportunity to meet tech and research geniuses, test their UI and library trivia knowledge, and take on new University Librarian John Culshaw in a Wii challenge.

Features of the project include 18 group study spaces, 100 desktop and laptop computers, a 45-seat TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classroom with glass walls and sliding doors, printers and scanners, TVs and projectors, and multimedia resources.

In addition:

  • A consolidated service desk will be at the hub of the learning commons. Library and technical staff will be able to answer common academic questions and quickly facilitate expert-level assistance for academic and research issues.
  • Collaboration technology and high-speed wireless connectivity will be available through the commons. Commons staff will be at the ready to help with technology issues as well.
  • The Food for Thought café will offer an expanded menu that includes made-to-order sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and other snacks, as well as espresso and gourmet coffees.

The space will be open all day and night with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, in direct response to students’ ongoing requests for 24-hour study space on campus.

Construction on the new space included the addition of a new library entrance on Madison Street starting Aug. 26. This and the south entrance, which had been closed during construction, will both be open while the library’s north entrance will close to facilitate the next phase of library renovations. During phase 2 of the renovation, the north entrance will be transformed into a lobby space that leads directly into the Learning Commons.