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New look for library

Collaborative study space at the recently renovated Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.
Collaborative study space at the recently renovated Library of the Health Sciences-Chicago.

Students who step into UIC’s newly renovated Library of the Health Sciences will quickly realize that it isn’t your typical library.

To start, students can get a strong cup of coffee or tea and healthy snacks in the library’s café, then consume them in the library as they study. They will not be shushed when they speak too loudly and will be encouraged to work in group settings in visualization or collaborative study rooms.

And yes, if it’s quiet they are seeking, students will be able to find it in silent study spaces while they absorb the natural light from large windows previously blocked by administrative offices.

“The end goal was to meet the needs of the entire spectrum of students, of burgeoning health professionals and established health professionals,” said Jay Jurek, user experience librarian. “We’ve tried to create a space for each of the activities that our studies have shown us that people need.”

Jurek helped shepherd the $5.2 million, two-year renovation project of the library at 1750 West Polk Street, which culminated with a grand opening in time for UIC’s fall semester. The renovation of the 23,000-square-foot first floor is the only building renovation since it opened in 1974, Jurek said. The project also included updating fire alarm and mechanical systems.

The overall design was meant to encourage activity and collaboration. Soft furniture and acoustically absorbent surfaces are distributed throughout to keep sound to a minimum. Semi-private study areas with tables encourage group work and acoustically sealed quiet reading rooms are available. Electrical outlets are within reach of every seat and a large screen greets visitors with information or images from the library’s collection… Read the full article

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