CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — When students enter the library at Penn State Lehigh Valley, they are now greeted by several lounge chairs and working spaces overlooking the courtyard. This new space allows for 12 students to comfortably work and study. Previously, there was only enough seating for eight and the space was sectioned off with additional bookshelves.
For students, the new area is a welcome change.
“I stay here on campus to do work,” said Satbir Saini, a first-year information sciences and technology student. “I like the quiet space and the chairs are comfortable. I also like the charging ports that are available and how you can move things around.”
“We have made this a learner-focused area, not a social area. We listened to what students wanted and tried to make this space meet their needs. Being a commuter campus, we know our students face demands on their attention at home. When they are on campus, many of them want to dedicate that time to schoolwork and studying,” said Jen Jarson, head librarian at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Since the start of the semester, this space has been popular with students, which is really gratifying to see.”
Jarson and her staff had various planning sessions about the space. Their decisions were informed by students through observations of students and through conversations with student groups such as Student Government Association.
Funds from the 2018 Giving Tuesday campaign covered part of the cost, with additional funding coming from the Penn State Lehigh Valley Library and University Libraries funds. This collaborative project was installed in August prior to the start of fall classes.