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Eric Bartheld
IUB Main Library
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Chip Rondot
UITS
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Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

IU Bloomington to create Information Commons in Main Library

Indiana University has received the go-ahead from the State of Indiana to create the Information Commons, a technology-infused learning center on the Bloomington campus. Construction will begin in two weeks following final exams, and the new facility will open in September 2003.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Agency approved the university's request to convert part of the first floor of IU's Main Library to a dynamic hub for students and faculty that will integrate traditional library materials with state-of-the-art technology.

The IU Bloomington Libraries and University Information Technology Services are jointly funding the project, estimated to cost approximately $1.5 million.

"Learning is a multi-faceted process," said Suzanne Thorin, Ruth Lilly University Dean of University Libraries. "We are creating a space for students to work collaboratively and to access books and technology in a single environment. It is especially appropriate that this space will be in the Main Library, long recognized as the intellectual heart of the campus."

"The Information Commons integrates the study spaces, technology and resources that students value into some of the best real estate on campus," said Brad Wheeler, associate dean of teaching and learning information technology, IU Office of the Vice President for Information Technology. "The IC will quickly become the hub of student activity at IUB. The shared vision of Vice President Michael McRobbie and Dean Suzanne Thorin made the $1.5 million Information Commons a priority project even during a very tough funding year." McRobbie is IU's vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

The Information Commons, which will be located on the first floor of the West Tower and occupy 27,000 square feet, will offer more than 250 individual and group-configured computer workstations, a multimedia production lab, and wireless networking, as well as information, instruction and reference services. In addition to housing valuable print collections and reference librarians, the Commons will be a centrally located place for students and faculty to interact, to attend technology training classes and to have full-service access to technology and technologists. The space will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Indiana University is renowned for its technological infrastructure and services and is consistently rated as one of the country's most-wired universities.

"UITS is very excited to partner with the library to provide technology and library services to students 24/7," said Sue Workman, director of the Teaching and Learning Information Technology Division of UITS. "UITS will be able to provide more workstations, more group workstations, multimedia stations, technology STEPS classes, consulting and Support Center services, all from this central location."

University Information Technology Services is responsible for the continued development of a modern information technology environment throughout the university in support of IU's vision for excellence in research, teaching, outreach and lifelong learning. UITS comprises some 500 highly trained professionals with expertise that spans the field of information technology. Many of the staff are nationally and internationally known for their accomplishments.

The IUB Libraries, a network of 19 libraries on IU's Bloomington campus, is one of the nation's leading academic research library systems, providing strong collections, quality service, instructional programs and leadership in the application of information technologies. The Main Library, opened in 1969, will be named for Herman B Wells in 2005 to honor IU's revered president who died in March 2000.

For more information about the Information Commons, see http://ic.indiana.edu.