By Lauren Fralinger, Learning & Research Services
When was the last time you were in the library here at UM? This morning? This afternoon, for a class? Or were you planning to spend a couple hours there tonight, catching up on homework? Perhaps you’re even sitting in one of the University’s libraries now, reading this article from your laptop.
Whatever your major, you’ve likely spent countless hours over the course of your college career in one of the University of Miami’s libraries, checking out books, doing homework and research, or just studying for your classes. From the books they provide to the staff that run them, libraries are a critical part of the academic journey.
This month, from April 10-16, is National Library Week, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate libraries, their staff, and all they do to help their communities learn and grow.
Founded in 1958 with the goal of encouraging people to unplug the radio, turn off the television, and pick up a book, National Library Week hoped to motivate people to make use of the library and all of its resources. In the 1950s, the library’s resources primarily meant books, magazines, and spaces for programs. Though books, magazines, and events are still critical to the services that libraries provide, technology has vitally changed the way we interact with and utilize libraries.
The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries Transform.” In the more than fifty years since its inception, libraries have undergone massive changes to adapt to new technologies and new needs. Gone are the days when libraries were mere repositories for books; in today’s world, libraries not only host information in books and journals, they are becoming interactive learning spaces that support a wide variety of needs.
Transformation is underway in the libraries here at UM as well. Over the past year librarians and staff at UM Libraries, together with their campus partners, have been planning for the future Learning Commons on the first floor of Richter Library. The Learning Commons will make key educational services centrally and conveniently available to the entire UM community. Students are encouraged to try out the different spaces, services, and technologies in the Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons. There are a number of resources now available:
- The Writing Center and Academic Resource Center are offering services in the library’s new Consultation Hub, providing students with help on every phase of their research, from finding articles to polishing off their papers.
- If it all becomes a bit too much, and someone needs a break from all the studying, the library is currently building a Brain Spa for students to visit and relax, filling it with puzzles, games, and chalkboard cubes for doodling.
- More of these kinds of changes are on the way for Fall 2016, as the Math Lab, Academic Technologies and IT plan to move in and provide even more centralized support for students in Richter.
In addition to everything that Richter provides, there are five other libraries at the University of Miami with doors open to any student who wishes to use them. The Judi Prokop Newman Information Resource Center, University of Miami Law Library, Paul Buisson Architecture Library, Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, and Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library are all equipped to support students with world-class resources and specialized assistance for business, law, architecture, music, and marine science students.
The next time you visit one of the University of Miami’s libraries, be sure to talk to librarians and staff. Remember – we’re here to help! We hope to make the library your home away from home.
Want to know more about what’s up at the UM Libraries? Check out the links below!