Trocaire’s Re-Born Library

At the end of August, Pat Klaybor, WNYLRC Office Coordinator, and I had the pleasure of making a member site visit to Trocaire College and the Rachel R. Savarino Library.  We had visited before some years back and were impressed, at that time, how this small library accommodated the needs of a student body with a wide age range and breadth of academic skills.  However, this visit brought a delightful, totally fresh approach to the space and a relaxed, comfortable feeling for study needs with an eye to how modern students view an academic library and, at the same time, a concerted effort to maintain the institution's archival record.  The re-creation and re-building of that library space along with the brand new space at Trocaire's Transit Rd. Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality and Business was energizing in the knowledge that this focused academic institution has no intention of sitting back on past laurels and every intention to keep changing with the needs of what will be an ever-changing student body.

We asked Judy Schwartz, library director, to give us some background on how this change all came about:

Trocaire’s ‘new’ building on Choate was dedicated in October of 2007 with the library placed on the 4th floor. By the mid-2000s, the original library furnishings had grown shabby and needed to be replaced.  The boxlike configuration of the study and computing carrels made it impossible for students to collaborate on projects, or study together. “Quiet study” signage was easy to ignore, once a user found a walled off area to work in AND talk in.

As student numbers increased, several areas in the college were refurbished to open up more study space. The old locker room was transformed into brightly lit study space with tables and chairs; the cafeteria / gathering space was refurbished, partially underwritten by a generous donation from the Margaret Wendt Foundation, and still more space was needed.
Library surveys consistently showed that, more than anything else, students wanted their study space to be quiet.  No space was designated as such – and the library stepped up to the plate. Project management commenced in 2010: analyze the print collection, weed / update resources, donate unused shelving to non-profits, move all print & circulating media to stacks in another location, budget for the project and find the ‘just right’ furnishings. 

Judy Schwartz, Director of Library Services, polled librarians for their overall needs at the beginning of the project, & then designed the revitalization plan for the library’s 4200 square foot area. When built, the library occupied the 4th floor’s 7000 sq. ft.; 40% is now learning center since January 2000 (45 seats’ worth and one office).  In addition to what we knew students needed: quiet study space and more electrical outlets as charging stations, the librarians needed private space off the desk to work uninterrupted.
Reserve books & media have new ‘housing’; contents have been snugged up from five to three sections: VOILA!! More private work space, defined by frosted glass-topped partitions.  Removing the seven foot wraparound extension of the reference / reserve desk opened up the ‘nave’ area for new tables and chairs. We configured a new cubicle (7.5’ X 11’) bump-out where there had been media shelving, complete with L shaped desk, room for a table and storage areas.

Shelving and pods were purchased from Gaylord; offices’ configuration & components, and quiet study tables through Millington-Lockwood. There are 14 HP touch screen computers on two sets of pods (six sections in a circle) plus the two on height adjustable tables for handicap access.  The six quiet study tables near the archives have electric ports, one set of two in each table. The college is wireless throughout, enabling students to work anywhere.

There still are projects to be completed: repaint the entire area (tentatively scheduled for mid-December) and then purchase, frame and hang prints from the Saint John’s Bible project throughout. It’s been a long process, but well worth it.   Judy Schwartz, Director of Library Services.

Old Carrels

Old Desk to be Removed

Destruction Process

And now the new:

New Tables and Chairs

Putting the New Pods Together



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