Visitors to Ekstrom’s First Floor-East will find beautiful, light-filled interiors with fewer walls and more open space, intuitive wayfinding, a revamped Information Commons, and the comforts and amenities of a 21st century library. The transformation helps Ekstrom better fulfill its role as the University’s locus of research, learning and study.
Changes requested by students informed the design, which supports the Libraries’ strategic plan to inspire and create student success. Natural light spills into the spacious entrance where once stood partitions, an ‘80s-era check-out desk, a leviathan concrete stairwell, and a confusing array of desks. Brick flooring, walls, and the stairwell were removed to reveal expansive space, a two-story feature wall, banks of study spaces, abundant seating, and design elements that connect to the more modern west side.
Underlying Ekstrom’s physical renovation is an invisible one: a fundamental restructuring of services to create a true Information Commons. Formerly disparate services – the Writing Center, the REACH Computer Resource Center, the Digital Media Suite (DMS) and Research Assistance and Instruction (RAI) – are now united into one location, making it easier for students to understand what’s available, and gain help.