Davenport University libraries reinvented to meet changing needs

Libraries around the world have been dealing with the reality of round-the-clock connectivity and easy access to information for the better part of a decade, reinventing themselves to become much more than a warehouse of books and periodicals. Leaders at Davenport University have taken a close look at how its library spaces are actually used and found the number of books checked out from any of the university libraries had been reduced to less than a handful in any given week. It became clear that students want to use  library space differently, while having access to all the resources virtually. 

Executive Vice President for Academics and Provost Gilda Gely said the changes mark a positive step forward for students.

“The spaces will be transformed and the opportunities expanded,” Dr. Gely said. “It is important to note that library resources and an enhanced tutoring program are available around the clock. We are serving all our students with academic support no matter where they are located or when they need help.”

The digital offerings include books and resources, and professional librarians who can help with research and general questions. The university also launched a partnership on July 1 with Tutor.com, which is a fully online tutoring service used by many universities. Some of the features of this program include 24/7 access to tutors using links on Blackboard, more tutors for more subjects, with on-demand and appointment tutoring also available. There is even an option for Spanish-language tutoring.

On the Grand Rapids Lettinga Campus, the Margaret Davenport Sneden Library Information Commons will now house the Center for Learning and Engagement (CLE). The CLE includes the Center for Campus Life, which includes Housing, Student Activities, Student Care, Registered Students Organizations, Access Services and Student Conduct. Career and Internship Services has also moved into the space.

Executive Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Walter O’Neill said the move has created a much-needed hub for student engagement.

“The Center for Learning and Engagement is now providing gathering opportunities and enhanced in-person services for students,” Dr. O’Neill said. “Students will be able to collaborate on projects and use the study tables. And in the same place, they’ll be able to find out about career opportunities and internships.”    

 The units that now occupy the Center for Learning and Engagement see these enhancements as answering today’s students’ needs and expectations.

“Students live in the digital space, and these innovations are meeting them where they are and when they need support,” said Dr. Joe Bishop, executive director of Campus Life. “I’m also excited by our move to the Center for Learning and Engagement and to see how the entire reimagined space will be used by students.”

The CLE will host an open house on Tuesday, September 5, the first day of classes.









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