Centre College library remains bustling academic hub of campus

Posted by Centre News in Academics, Campus, News 07 Feb 2014

Centre College is known far and wide for its rigorous academic environment, and, thanks to a little arithmetic by Director of Library Services Stan Campbell, the Grace Doherty Library has the numbers to back up that assertion.

“In the 2012-13 academic year, just under 175,000 people walked through the doors of the Grace Doherty Library,” he says. “If you narrow this number down to the time we were in session, excluding the summer hours and holidays, it averages out to about 750 people per day.

“Also,” he adds, “our private study rooms were reserved more than 2,100 times during that same period.”

This boils down to a simple fact that most Centre students are not shy about sharing—they spend a lot of time in the library. This fact was recently recognized by the Washington Post, which named Centre one of the top five institutions in the country for average student study time. In fact, while the national average of student study habits as measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has recently decreased, Centre’s already high average has seen a slight increase.

For Campbell, the popularity of the library goes beyond rigorous coursework; he cites the increasingly diverse range of environments the library offers to students.

“We have private study rooms, traditional study carrels and reading rooms, a large selection of soft couches and chairs, and, in the last year, a whole new study space in reference.”

library_boothCampbell also mentions the recent addition of three new study booths (pictured right) and new study tables on the upper level. This is just one of many additions and upgrades the Doherty Library staff are constantly working on.

“Students can enjoy the quiet, collegial environment that our upper level provides,” he explains, “or they can take advantage of the fairly busy environment of our main floor, where they can work collaboratively with their peers.”

And despite such healthy participation at the library, Campbell and his team are far from sitting back on their laurels.

“There was a time when you could buy furniture for a library with the idea that it needed to last 25 or even 50 years,” he says. “There is some charm to the idea, but it no longer works. We have to provide students with study space that is lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to update.

“We have benefitted enormously from the splendid generosity of Centre alumni and the Parents Association,” he adds. “Their gifts have allowed us to continue to improve and enhance our furnishings and technology.”

Learn more about library services at Centre.

By Mariel Smith

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