Dalton State Library Completes First Phase of Renovation


As Dalton State is gearing up for the fall semester to begin next week, final touches are being placed on renovations at the Derrell C. Roberts Library.

The newly renovated space on the first floor contains collaborative areas, a new computer lab, media stations, and resources for students, faculty, and staff, as well as the public.

“The library is about academics but more than that as well,” said Melissa Whitesell, director of the library. “The new configuration provides us with better space for resources and programming.”

One of the biggest needs at the library was more and upgraded collaborative space. Student groups, as well as community groups, use the library to work on projects, Whitesell said.

“Our new media tables will have large screens so you can share work from a device, like a cellphone or tablet, to the screen,” she said. “The table is made for people to easily gather around to see the screen. We already had presentation labs but they were overbooked, especially at the end of each semester. So we’ve expanded and improved those presentation labs and will now have three.  Plus, you will be able to have more control over the lighting in those labs.”

A new addition is a virtual reality lab. Patrons can reserve time in the VR lab, check out visors and gloves from the circulation desk, and use them for a variety of applications. For example, a health professions student may use the VR lab to practice inserting an IV, Whitesell said. The library also has new classroom space.

“We really hope to build on this to become a great resource for our students and the community,” she said.

The Bandy Heritage Center, which has been housed on the second floor of the library, will now have a more visible location in the area where the Learning Commons was previously located. The reconfiguration includes a climate-controlled archival research center, preservation lab, and a reading room.

“This space will support the Bandy Heritage Center’s research efforts and those of the general public as well,” said Dr. Adam Ware, director of the heritage center. “It will also act as a working lab for training Dalton State students to preserve, stabilize, organize, arrange, describe, and house documents, photographs, and artifacts in accordance with industry standards.

“As the collection grows, the archival research center will also serve as the site of preservation workshops, lectures, and other programs offered to the general public,” he said.

All the spaces except the Bandy Center and virtual reality lab are expected to be complete by the time classes start Monday. The Bandy Center and virtual reality lab should be completed by the end of the fall semester.

Over the next few years, Whitesell expects to continue renovation work to the library in phases. The circulation desk and reference section are scheduled to be reconfigured next summer, while the second floor will see renovations in the next few years.

“Our goal as we go forward is to make the library more open and welcoming,” she said. “We also want to incorporate more glass to maximize the view, which is beautiful. We want the library to be a destination on campus. We want everyone to come here and be engaged.”

The library hosts a tea party based on the unbirthday party in Alice in Wonderland on Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is open to the community.