Anjali Sundaram
Mercury Staff

Refurbished space offers dedicated study zones

The third floor of the McDermott library underwent refurbishments to incorporate more study spaces.

To accommodate the new study spaces, library staff moved the aviation archives and bookshelves to Synergy Park North 2.


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The new space replaces bookshelves and books with couches and chairs. A long, wooden work bench provides outlets for students to connect their devices. Work pods line one of the walls. A large, opaque separator divides the middle of the room into three separate areas.

Dean of Libraries Ellen Safley worked with the university’s design team to refurbish the third floor and make room for study spaces, a move prompted by a lack of existing space that led to students sitting and laying on the ground.

Three main goals in the redesign, Safley said, were to allow more space for students to spread out, keep the space easy to clean and maintain and include outlets wherever possible, including in some of the furniture. Students who want silence can make use of a designated “quiet zone,” whereas students who want to speak or study with partners have a “talking zone.”

In addition to the repurposed space, a new art gallery — called the Nebula Gallery — was also created inside the Special Collections area on the third floor to display art created by the UTD community.

“It provides the library an opportunity to showcase student art with the help of faculty members and a chance to showcase community art as appropriate,” Safley said.

The third floor upgrades are some of the changes the library is making in its push to become more modern, Safley said. In the future, the library will add more art linked to a QR code so students can scan and read descriptions about the pieces. There are also plans to develop virtual labs as well as incorporate augmented reality into the reading experience.

 “I want to make (the library) more of an experience and be more creative,” Safley said. “We like to work outside the box.”