A new chapter for Morgan Library

When donors approached former CSU President Bill Morgan with funds for the university’s first stadium, he refused their generosity. At first, at least. As long as he had a say, his school would not have a stadium before it had a library, he told them.

To the president’s great pleasure, Morgan Library opened its doors in 1964, four years before the first kick-off at Hughes Stadium.

Today, while the debate over a new proposed stadium rages, Morgan Library’s first state-of-the-art renovation has been completed. And with the exception of Lory Student Center, the building is now being utilized by more people than any other on campus, according to Dean of Libraries Patrick Burns.

The library’s 18-month, $16.8 million transformation into a cutting-edge information hub was partly the result of feedback from students, who were so in support of the expansion that they voted on an increase in their technology fees to pay for it.

With the combined efforts of architect/interior design firm studiotrope and Pinkard Construction, Morgan’s new features reflect the changing demand for a library from a place to browse for books to a place to collaborate, innovate and explore endless amounts of information using the latest technology.

Here are a few of the highlights of the remodel:

Google Liquid Galaxy. This area relies on multiple displays arranged to integrate, analyze and manipulate digital information such as GIS maps, providing an immersive Google Earth experience. Users can “fly” through buildings, mountain ranges, cities and even the ocean floor, filling their peripheral vision and enhancing their study.

How much tech? Consider that the library today boasts a video conference room, video production suites, a 224-computer lab space, high-speed wireless access, laptops, iPads, video cameras and recorders available for checkout and more than 400,000 eBooks.

The living room. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has been to Washington’s on college night, but surveys find that students actually want a little quiet time. The living room (nicknamed the “red room” because of the coloring of the walls and furniture) is filled with individual seating and modern-looking enclosed study spaces. Bonus: its three glass walls provide a view of the mountains – a reminder that there is life outside of school.

Morgan’s Grind. Before this coffee shop opened, coffee and related supplies were bought from a noisy coffee cart in Morgan’s lobby, where a near-constant line of students typically formed. Now the library features a full-service coffee bar, stocked with a variety of beverages and snacks. Its glass walls keep the sound of steaming milk and grinding beans inside, where students gather for study breaks and between-class pick-me-ups.

A furniture makeover. Morgan’s long, heavy tables have been replaced with colorful and light tables, chairs and even couches, many of which are equipped with wheels for increased mobility. The new pieces give the entire space a more modern look, and encourage collaboration, movement and when necessary, naps.

Assistive technology rooms. The seven assistive technology rooms are equipped with advanced software and technology for use by students and community members with special needs or physical impairments. Features include a Braille embosser, computers with specialized capabilities, recorders for listening to lectures at high-volume or slow speeds, etc. Shown here: Angie Miller, a senior from abroad, is studying for her criminal justice class, replaying a digitally recorded lecture slowly so that she can better absorb it.

Group presentation rooms. These 24, HDTV (with laptop hookups) and white board- equipped workplaces have space for about 10 students each and look more like they belong at the Innosphere than in the library. They provide a space for group work and presentation practice, and can be reserved online.

The study cube. This LEED-certified, aptly-named addition connects with Morgan’s front entrance. In response to student demand for extended library hours, the 4,500-square-foot Cube is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its glass walls change opacity based on the direction of the sun, reducing glare. At night, when the building is unstaffed, lights inside allow anyone walking by to see who might be studying — a security measure. While there is no direct access to books or other library resources from the Cube, it provides a wireless-equipped study space for those all-nighters. Bring your own caffeine.

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