In the summer of 2011, the Ganser Library closed its doors to the University for two years. Since its birth in 1967, the decrepit facility had not been touched, and over time, became a hazard to students.
The building underwent the $25 million project for extensive renovations that would bring it up to speed with the 21st century. Even with a supplemental library in Gerhart Hall – albeit an extreme downsize – students moaned at the closing of the biggest study and hangout spot on campus.
After feverish anticipation by students, faculty, and administration, the library opened on the first day of school with a new, modern name: Francine G. McNairy Library and Learning Forum, named after the 13th president of the university, who officially retired on January 30, 2013.
The library’s renovations, funded through state capital funds and private fundraising efforts, has given it a complete makeover ranging from its decor, the color schemes, furniture, computers, and overall atmosphere. Starbucks was added to the first floor; multiple study group rooms were placed on floors 3-6; two elevators stop at each floor; and the Chryst Writing Center added night hours from Sunday to Thursday.
The Writing Center Annex in room 113 runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. after regular hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – in the Chryst Hall have ended. Four tutors have devoted this time to continue helping students with their papers, understanding late hours are more convenient to students with early classes.
“The goal of the Writing Center is to help students and these new hours will help more students,” said Maria Barcoski, a senior English major, liaison of the Annex, and a tutor since October 2010. “It’s very convenient for students who are working on papers in the library.”
Tutors offer side-by-side, peer tutoring to students of all stages and levels with any subject or course writing assignment. However, they are not an editing service. Their objectives include helping students brainstorm and improving their writing mechanics.
The convenience of the library allows students to print their papers or use the available laptops at the front desk. Additionally, tutors have a new environment to work in, as the McNairy Library opened on August 26.
Mushtak Meherzad, a graduate student working toward his Masters of Education and English and tutor, recently joined the Writing Center. While he shares the same values for the students, he also feels working at the Writing Center suits him.
Being an education major, the Writing Center fits perfectly in the teaching environment [I am involved in], Meherzad said.
You can schedule appointments with the Writing Center Annex by calling (717) 872-3183. Visit their website at http://www.millersville.edu/english/writingcenter/for hours, general and contact information.
Bringing the campus’ library up-to-date to the century was not their only motivation; today calls for a library to be permitting and encouraging open forum. The building’s use must fit the time: technologically rich, flexible and multi-purpose educational space.
An article in the University Review of spring 2011 mentioned Dr. Marilyn Parrish, special collections librarian and University archivist, saying this kind of social space is now necessary in libraries.
“Students find that in the workplace, employers expect people to be able to work together,” Parrish said. “More and more faculty members also require group collaboration. Students need to meet so they can work together to discuss and complete group projects. The library is a great place for that collaboration to occur.”
Students and faculty can find many secluded rooms in the McNairy Library to get together and collaborate on projects and activities.
Oher new features added to the new facility includes additional, redesigned classrooms, 24-hour public access area, expanded technology, ADA-compliant, especially with restrooms and elevator access to each floor, and natural lighting through large windows.
Some old features are the expansive amount of books, DVD’s, the Archives and Special Collections – which will be climate-controlled and have a special classroom – and technology.
Though most of the campus has yet to explore the ten floors of the McNairy Library, there is the hope that it will become the core of the University.
In the same article of the University Review, Dr. Carrie Smith, an associate professor of sociology at Millersville, was president of Friends of Ganser Library and served on the library renovation committee. She believes the renovated library will become the core of campus.
“It’s going to be a great addition and may give us this focal center where students will say, ‘I’m going to go there and hang out,’” Smith said. “I’m going to send students over there and tell them start looking around. I want them to find their serendipity.”
For general information, fall hours, more information on the renovation process, and other, visit the library website at http://www.library.millersville.edu/.