Library renovations provide new spaces, centralize services

UF invests $105,000 for updates in Shafer Library

By Macaulay M. Williams

Last fall as students returned to campus and started to study in Shafer Library, they were not always guaranteed the silence libraries are known for. Instead they were greeted with the sound of drills, the pounding of nails, and the occasional hum of a saw. All of this commotion was due to a $105,000 renovation project in Shafer that has since provided students with a better variety of spaces to study.

According to UF’s Shafer Library Webpage, its mission is to “provide access to information for research and learning; collect research created by the University; preserve history of the University; create a variety of group collaboration and individual study spaces; and teach information literacy skills to equip students for meaningful lives and productive careers.”

The recent renovations to the library have highlighted these goals. The renovations that took place over the last semester included adding office workspace for ITS workers, installing compact shelving units downstairs, and constructing group study rooms, according to University Librarian Andrew Whitis.

“Our focus for these renovations was to meet the needs of student requests with respect to study space,” said Whitis. “Our student feedback was consistently telling us that we needed to have more space, especially during exam times, where students can go with a group to study.”

According to Whitis, the renovations created eight new group study rooms that can be accessed by students who want to study with their peers. The rooms have the ability to hold up to five people and have optional features such as a whiteboard and a projector, according to Whitis.

“I think that adding these rooms will help our students get the quiet study time that they are seeking when it comes time for exams this year,” said Whitis. “Since the renovations have been finished we have heard nothing but good reviews from students about the rooms, so we are pleased with how the rooms turned out.”

Additionally, compact shelving units were installed in order to make room for the new group study rooms, as well as the new ITS office that has been placed in the library, according to

Whitis.  He explained that the compact shelving was an essential aspect of the renovations in order to free up the space for both the study rooms and the new ITS office.

“The compact shelving was really a saving grace for us, because it allowed us to keep the things that were essential to the library, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, that were not being used frequently,” said Whitis.

According to Whitis, the addition of the compact storage shelves also freed up space to create the new ITS office on the ground floor of the library.

“I think ITS is now better able to serve our students and faculty because they are on campus now, instead of being over at the Haven,” said Whitis.

According to Taylor Malsam, a sophomore ITS worker at the University, the change has been beneficial to both students and ITS staff.

“The change has been good for both sides,” said Malsam. “Now staff members can interact with students face to face most of the time, whereas before we had to do it over the phone.”

Additionally, students may recognize that the newly renovated space resembles the old ITS office with respect to size and overall appearance, according to Malsam.

“The office is almost exactly the same size as the other one, the only difference is we are closer to the people we need to help,” said Malsam.

With more group study rooms, compact shelving, and the new ITS office added to the library, it is quickly becoming a central hub for students seeking advice on technology and literature. The library remains a place for tranquil study, and student presence in the library will no doubt be on the rise as final exams draw nearer.

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