Photo by Sierra Martin
Alkek Library is currently undergoing $14.3 million of major renovations that will bring change to the first, second, fourth and seventh levels of the library. It is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020.
With a growing student population, Texas State is updating the library to provide a modern learning experience and expansive resources to current and future Bobcats.
The first floor of Alkek will be converted into space where new and emerging technologies meet student learning. A virtual reality center will be available to students where they can create augmented reality experiences and participate in interactive storytelling. The new GIS center will have an Omniglobe, a visual tool for research, mapping worldwide events, simulating weather patterns and viewing ocean currents.
According to Scott Ayers, director of IT marketing and communications for the Division of Information Technology, the first floor will include maker spaces, digital design centers and 3D printers.
“Part of that project is turning the first floor of the library into a tech education center. It’s going to have a lot of different things that you’ve never seen down there,” Ayers said.
YouStar studios will provide students with sound studios and audio-visual editing equipment. A makerspace will include a Creative Manufacturing Center, which is a milling machine that cuts shapes from solid materials. In addition to this, sewing machines, art tools and 3D pens will be available for student use.
The second floor will be renovated to include a Starbucks in the space that is currently occupied by the information desk of the library. The coffee chain will have indoor seating, a walk-up window and accessible caffeine for studying students.
The third floor will house a diverse selection of literary novels for students to utilize for class assignments and leisure. An expansive graphic novel collection, recent best sellers of fiction and non-fiction and a Juvenile collection will be available to support the needs of student educators.
The fourth floor will continue to house SLAC tutoring services, providing students with supplemental instruction and study skills workshops for free, but will also include an area designated to graduate students.
One of the new developments in Alkek will be The Graduate Commons, where graduate students can scan IDs to access study spaces, lounge area, and lockers reserved entirely for their use. It will provide graduate students with study rooms tailored to graduate studies and independent from the primarily undergraduate dominated campus.
In addition to these advancements, the third and fourth floor will also offer single-occupancy, gender-neutral bathrooms so all students at Texas State will be comfortable at the library.
The seventh floor will be changing substantially with the expansion of the Wittliff Collections, where the campus museum will have a new entrance, expanded photo-gallery, new Texas Music gallery and a new Lonesome Dove gallery.
Lydia LeClair, marketing junior, said she sees the construction as the university appealing to the growing student population and usefulness of technology while learning.
“I think the changes will greatly improve the experience of the library. Adding the technology center and changing the fourth floor to be for grad students will be a great resource for students and will be extremely useful,” LeClair said. “I know the Wittliff Collections brings a lot of visitors to the school so expanding it will be great for the university.”
Texas State is facilitating the construction of Alkek with the help of the IT department in order to create an innovative and updated study space for students that allows them to take advantage of the resources the university has to offer.
“The Alkek 2020 Vision integrates traditional information resources with new and emerging technologies. Planned improvements include the addition of features that provide opportunities for hands-on learning, application and instruction,” according to the 2020 Alkek Vision Exhibit.
Alkek is the fifth building to house the library since 1903 and offers double the study and shelf space as the former library which was located on the top nine floors of the JCK. Its construction began in 1987 and was completed in 1990.
To learn more about the construction plans of Alkek, visit the 2020 Alkek Vision Exhibit located on the first floor of the library.