Fant Memorial Library

Dean Amanda Clay Powers

amanda powers 300

Transforming Fant Memorial Library 2016 - 2018

Over the past three years, Fant Memorial Library has gone through a dramatic transformation of its physical and online presence.  The library finished an AIA award-winning ten-year renovation and expansion, reopening in October 2017.  This project included a top-to-bottom renovation of 45k square feet of space and 26k of new space designed for the 21st century student, focusing on group and collaborative study areas, as well as the construction of a two-story high-density automated storage and retrieval system to house low use materials.  By popular vote on campus, she was named Athena (which is perfect for the OWLS, of course). The new spaces include:

  • 14 student study rooms
  • 24/7 study space with a computer lab, group study, printing, and scanning support
  • Tech Lab with a 3D scanner, 3 3D printers, and 3D drawing tools
  • Traditional classroom seating 40
  • Digital classroom with computer lab and Adobe InDesign software seating 28
  • Multipurpose flexible meeting space seating up to 100
  • Common Grounds café seating 100
  • Archives research space and classroom seating 26 students
  • Faculty meeting rooms, an Active Learning Classroom, and the Kossen Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Common Grounds coffee shop, proudly serving Starbucks coffee

In addition to renovating the library’s physical footprint to meet current student needs, the library has also been reviewing library resources and services in light of the new innovations in teaching and learning.  As students are accessing research articles primarily online, we have realigned our collections to respond to this established need:

  • We are moving toward a goal of 100% access to all our electronic research journals. 
  • For research database resources, we upgraded to CINHAL Complete Unlimited, subscribed to Nursing Reference Center Plus, Oxford English Dictionary Online, Drama Online Library, as well as individual electronic journals as requested, including The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • We have subscribed to innovative online resources, such as Policy Map and PrepStep, that provide tools for research beyond journal articles.  Policy Map allows our students to think “outside the box” with public and private GIS-tagged datasets that allow students to drill down by location, demographics, and other statistics to develop, expand, and visualize research questions or create and upload new datasets.  PrepStep offers instructional support for English, Math and Statistics courses, as well as testing and career resources.

In addition to this investment in online research and teaching support, the library has reorganized our physical resources to make them more useful to any library patron.

  • The print current journal collection has refocused away from research journals and toward resources that are still useful for browsing in print format, perhaps with a cup of coffee from our Common Grounds cafe.  In addition, current journals are now organized by subject, rather than alphabetically for easier use.
  • We have kept out the highest use and most browseable titles in our Circulating Collection on the second floor.  We have 75,000 books that are easily accessible, with lower use books in Athena.  However, if any book is requested from Athena, we return it to the regular stacks when it is returned.  In that way, we are always creating a valuable and serendipitous browsing experience.  
  • As a result of the wealth of reference information in our online sources, we have moved many of our reference titles into Athena or the circulating collection, if appropriate. To keep our reference book collections current for nursing, we have added two nursing-related ebook collection subscriptions, which offer only the most current books related to nursing and health sciences, removing dated titles on a monthly basis.
  • Our new Meet-the-Author Series, funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council, has drawn in students, faculty, staff, and the community to discuss new books by regional authors.
  • The library has extended its hours, opening now on Saturdays.  We are open Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 10pm, Friday 7:30am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Sunday 2pm – 10pm, and, of course, our computer lab and group study areas are open 24/7 during the academic year.

The library has also added many online services and new technologies to support student research:

  • We now provide help via chat, email, text, phone, twitter for immediate assistance all the hours the library is open, as well as email and dynamic FAQs for the hours in between.  Research consultations are available one-on-one, online or in-person, for in-depth research assistance, and they can be scheduled from the library's website.
  • We have created online guides and video tutorials that help students navigate the often overwhelming variety of library resources.  With the subject or class-focused guides, they can find immediately the specific databases, journals, books, and research assistance targeted toward their needs. 
  • We offer online or in-person information literacy workshops that are customizable and on-demand, as well as specialize workshops on 3D printing, Zotero, and on the connections between the writing and research processes.
  • Onlne reservations are available for 14 study rooms, as well as faculty and staff spaces.  These can be reserved up to two weeks in advance, making the scramble to find group study for students a thing of the past.
  • We now have wide-format color printing for research posters and other classroom needs.

Whether online or in-person, Fant Memorial Library has transformed itself into a 21st Century library, accessible where our students are, when they need it.