New shelving moves into library

James Ahrens

Students will find it easier to study and locate reference materials at Mabee Library this fall.

The books at Mabee Library have a new home. Mabee started a renovation which continues this semester with the addition of compact shelving to organize books and provides easier access to Mabee’s collection of reference materials.

The compact shelving significantly increases ease of access to library materials, specifically physical objects such as papers, CDs and, of course, books. Each unit is similar to a regular bookshelf, though one major difference distinguishes the compact shelving from traditional bookshelves. Each unit is controlled by an electrically powered sliding shelf which lets each unit slide on perpendicular tracks to the adjacent unit. The capacity for material acquisition will increase by approximately a third of the previous capacity. This increase allows for the acquisition of physical material needed by staff and students aside from the digital material already available for student studies and research. David Feinmark, coordinator for collection management, says that the shelving will be invaluable to the acquisition of new materials.

“This will give the library the ability to allow the university the time to plan for new additions,” says Feinmark.

Renovations to the east side of the basement of Mabee will be finished as soon as possible. If all goes according to plan, the west side of the basement level of the library will be tackled next summer.

Alan Bearman, interim dean of libraries, expects to see the library transform into, according to Bearman, a place which will be much more student friendly and student accessible. Fall break is a much more realistic time to expect the completion of the newest additions and renovations to the library says Bearman. He explained that some of these changes include student study areas which will invite students into the library for a more pleasant atmosphere. Some of the reference shelves on the main level of the library will be moved. Also, the reference desk will combine with the circulation and reserves desk. Flat-panel screens will be installed on the west and north walls of the main level with the help of KTWU.

Some of the changes at the library are not new. John Christensen, Library Director and Professor of Law at the Washburn University School of Law Library, explains that the concept of compact shelving allows for ease of access. At the Law Library, the shelving is only available for private use.

Christensen explains that some of the lesser used and historical bound volumes available at the Law Library must be used with care. Though the manually operated compact shelving in the library allows for handicapped access, a librarian must be present in order to help with getting books on higher shelves.