Ryan Chartrand

The Robert E. Kennedy Library will be witnessing some changes to the second floor Learning Commons in the near future. With the population at Cal Poly growing, the need for more group study rooms has become a pressing issue.

A student advisory committee has been created by the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) to lead discussions between students and Michael Miller, dean of library services.

Some of the issues on the forefront are expanding the Learning Commons, adding a caf‚ and making the reading room available 24 hours a day.

“I guess further out, maybe in about 2013, we will be opening a major expansion to the building,” Miller said.

The existing Learning Commons are on the north wing of the second floor which face the new engineering buildings. Yet, any changes made to this part of the library are heavily dependent on funding.

“What we’d like to do is integrate the books that are on that wing now into the other levels of the library and open up the space to create a series of group project rooms,” Miller said. “Students have a lot of projects and yet there are very few places that groups can go to find an environment that supports their work.”

The new rooms would have white boards and display technology so that groups could bring their own laptops. And while the new rooms would account for most of the space on the floor, the section of the same north wing that looks over the reading room would be turned into a coffee shop.

“That doesn’t have a timeline because it depends on who we would work with, whether it be Starbucks or Peet’s,” Miller said.

Miller also seemed optimistic about making the reading room on the first floor a 24-hour facility by next fall. However, for the changes regarding the Learning Commons, the more than 100,000 volumes that occupy the floor will take some time to move.

“We have to handle each individual volume by hand and then get the people to come in and construct the group rooms,” Miller added. “The best case scenario, I would like to think, sometime next year it might be available.”

Business and theatre junior Matt Marini is the chair of the student advisory committee and was chosen by ASI President Todd Maki to start the board. Having previously been on the executive staff, Marini jumped on the chance to head this new opportunity.

“The dean of the library attends our meetings and he asks us questions for the students’ input,” Marini said. The plans for the library are changing and if the committee agrees or disagrees, the administrators will take their opinions into consideration.

As of now, the committee represents all six colleges with an 11-member board. Marini sent out an e-mail to all the deans of the colleges asking for students that would want to join the committee.

“The first meeting will probably be the second or third week of February and we’ll probably meet once or twice a month and more if appropriate,” Marini said.

The group will hold two meetings, one with Miller asking questions about renovations and the second will be without him so that students can see what needs to be changed.

“We wanted one with (Miller) there and one without so that students’ ideas aren’t pushed in one direction,” Marini said.

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