New Learning Commons to be Dedicated Friday, Oct. 21 at W.E.B. Du Bois Library

AMHERST, Mass. – The Learning Commons at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will be dedicated Friday, Oct. 21, at 10 a.m. in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

The 23,000-square-foot, $1.8 million space brings together technology, library and student support services in an environment that fosters informal, collaborative work and social interaction.

“A campus’ library is the soul of an academic institution, and we want our students to spend quality time there,” said Charlena Seymour, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. “At the Learning Commons, students will transform information into learning. They will explore ideas and share insights with other students as they blur the lines between studying and socializing.”

Students will be able to meet for coffee at the Procrastination Station cafe, gather in a group project room, get help with researching or writing a paper, meet with teaching assistants, borrow a laptop, read e-mail or use a software package, get help with online registration, receive academic or career advising and discover tips for adjusting to campus life. The technology-rich environment features 164 workstations, 400 ports for laptop access to the campus network and Internet, 16 tablet PCs, e-mail kiosks and access to an array of software as well as professional staff and students to assist users.

Participating at the 10 a.m. dedication ceremony will be Seymour; John Lombardi, UMass Amherst chancellor; Jay Schafer, director of libraries; John Dubach, chief information officer and special assistant to the chancellor; Richard Rogers, faculty advisor to the provost for undergraduate studies; and David Gray, vice president for information services and chief information officer for the UMass system.

A dedication luncheon will follow at the Top of the Campus at noon. Among the participants will be Philip DesAutels, academic developer evangelist for Microsoft Corp. The keynote speaker will be Roberto Ibarra, associate professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico and assistant vice chancellor emeritus for the University of Wisconsin.

The Learning Commons will bring together in one place a number of campus resources, including reference and research assistance, technical support, the Learning Resource Center, academic advising, the Writing Center, career services and the Assistive Technologies Center.

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