Gannon University Celebrates Dedication of Modernized Nash Library

Posted: January 19, 2018

Gannon University formally re-opened a transformed Nash Library with a dedication and blessing ceremony Friday following a $16 million exterior and interior renovation of the Sassafras Street building.

The newly modernized learning environment was designed as a space where students, faculty, services and programs converge to advance learning and provide enhanced service to the University’s students through cutting-edge resources and technology that reflect the way students study today.

Creating a Space for Every Student

The 87,400-square-foot modernized space, which first opened in 1973, underwent renovations beginning in summer 2016 that have resulted in the construction of two new entrances to the building on West Sixth and Seventh Streets. The University surveyed students, faculty and staff to finalize the design, incorporating input for more study and collaboration spaces, Vice President for Finance and Administration Linda Wagner said. The facility has doubled its seating to provide students a wide array of options of multi-purpose independent and group study and meeting spaces both indoors and out.

The interior and exterior renovations of Nash Library offer new environments for students to engage in collaboration with their peers as well as focus on independent studies to excel in their academic programs. Some of the new study and meeting spaces found at the library include:    

“I hope that students find it a place they want to go to study,” Wagner said. “We have all the conveniences there that they need. If you want to study for three, four hours, you need to be comfortable. This is that environment.”

Nash Library Takes on Technology Transformation

Not only has the facility’s appearance taken on a new look, but the library has been technologically transformed, too. The renovations reflect an evolution of how students use libraries and library resources, library Director Ken Brundage said.

“It was really time to take a look and see what could the library’s role be in 2018 and beyond,” Brundage said. “How do we make it the best it can be for today’s students and tomorrow’s students? People will recognize many things that libraries have traditionally done in the past but also new things that we’ll be doing and we think will be part of the new library tradition at Gannon and in higher education in general.”

“The big thing is giving priority to learning space for students as opposed to giving the collections the priority in terms of space,” he continued. “We still value (the collections) but they’re not the reason we’re here. It’s the students, supporting students in getting their academic work done through new learning spaces and through resources, be they books or new and different resources you hadn’t thought of being in a library before.”

The library’s traditional role has been re-envisioned and technologically enhanced to mimic the way students study, learn and interact today. New technology features in Nash Library include:

A Library of Synergy and Services for Students

The renovated library has brought together a newly enhanced Student Learning Commons all in one place that allows for improvements in and greater accessibility to the one-on-one and group support offered by Gannon’s STEM Success Center, Monsignor James E. Sanner ’53 Writing and Research Center, the Technology Support Center, as well as additional leadership opportunities for our students.

By bringing together these services under one roof, students will receive highly-personalized individual and group tutoring, as well as supplemental instruction and academic support to be successful in their studies. A generous contribution of several hundred thousand dollars from the Orris C. & Beatrice Dewey Hirtzel Memorial Foundation provided the opportunity for this space to be equipped with the latest digital technology, video sets, learning models and other learning tools all in one easy accessible space.

Anna Swick, a senior social work major from Erie, sat in the new Writing and Research Center, where she works as a consultant. “It’s gorgeous,” she said of the renovation. “It’s going to be such a great space to hang out for students, and a lot of supports are located right here. It’s going to be a great hub.”

An additional feature students will enjoy is a new green roof that will not only manage runoff and regulate ambient temperature in the building, but will also provide an outdoor space on campus for new types of research opportunities for students and professors in Gannon’s academic programs, such as environmental engineering, science or biology.

Urban Brew Coffee Shop, on the library’s first floor, launched Tuesday when students were able to access the newly renovated library for the first time with a daylong grand opening celebration.

The coffee shop, which is open to the Gannon community as well as to the public, features café style beverages and healthy food and snacks from local businesses including Out of the Grey Coffee and Lake Side Bagels. Students will now be able to enjoy study breaks at Urban Brew’s new outdoor patio, too.

Graduate student Alexa Shaffer plans to use the study spaces as she prepares to defend a group thesis for her master’s degree in occupational therapy. Caffeine from Urban Brew will help.

“It’ll be nice for that late-night studying,” she said and smiled.

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