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IUPUI Magazine

Technology Issue

University Library

Article by Ric Burrous

Today, University Library is a very different place than when its doors first opened; fewer books line its shelves, replaced by computer workstations that link IUPUI students with resources around the state, the country, even the world. Reading areas have given way to study clusters armed with linked computer stations, scanners, printers and more. And the days of librarians shushing students whose voices rise above a whisper have long since been replaced by rooms and spaces devoted to group study and team projects — and thatís meant changes for Dean David Lewis and his staff.

"Our technology originally was geared for individual use, but now weíre creating spaces where students can interact, discuss their projects, challenge one another," he says. "We know the level of noise is going to be higher, but learning is a social activity, and we needed to serve that need."

Now, University Library has a more relaxed atmosphere, though the staff foresaw the need to preserve at least some space for a more traditional — and quiet — setting. "Working in a library is still about teaching students how to critically use information resources. Itís just that those resources are quite a bit different than when I started out," Lewis says with a grin.

"We used to worry about what would happen to traffic if we replaced the books," he says. "But at Bloomington, when they swapped technology for books, traffic doubled overnight. And we see the same kind of thing here. Libraries are still centers of information, and that wonít change."