ASK! Center at BBC, early stages underway

Image courtesy of Bryan Cooper

Sofia Galiano/Staff Writer

New furniture is being tested on the second floor in the Glenn Hubert Library at Biscayne Bay Campus this month.

The furniture testing is part of the renovations to create an Academic Skills and Knowledge Center, or ASK! Center – designed to accommodate students’ concern for comfortable seating, better lighting and newer technology.

The ASK! Center will have a common service desk providing technical assistance, tutoring and writing services, a librarian and more to facilitate students’ needs.

It is scheduled to open fall 2014.

“Students will easily be referred from one service to another, or get help more quickly as they orient themselves to academic work, and complete a paper or class project,” said Bryan Cooper, associate dean for Technical & Digital Services, in an email.

“They will be able to discover the support they need without walking to different areas in the building, or in separate buildings on campus.”

The ASK! Center will resemble The Hub, located on the second floor of the Green Library at Modesto A. Maidique Campus by the addition of new furniture and computers.

However, Cooper said The Hub is mainly a union of the Division of Information Technology and the Libraries.

The ASK! Center will offer services from both the Division of IT and the Libraries, along with the Center for Excellence in Writing, Center for Academic Success and Office of Business Services.

The renovation project is funded by student technology fees and five percent of tuition costs per credit hour.

For this reason the Student Government Association, along with any willing student visiting the library, will test sample furniture and complete surveys before the final pieces are selected.

Cooper invites students to visit the library to trial run furniture since the renovations are based on student input.

He said students’ concern for comfortable seating will be met with home-style furniture surrounding the ASK! Center and will be “more like they had at home.”

Although one student agreed comfortable furniture is needed in the library, they were more concerned with the use of space and positioning of furniture.

Xiaochan Wu, a hospitality graduate student, said the library’s second floor currently has plenty of space that is not being used, so the ASK! Center will need an efficient layout to maximize the benefits of the budget.

“The layout is another very important problem,” she said.

Cooper said seats will be next to windows so students have a view of the campus.

Better lighting will also be available to accommodate students reading, using computers and conducting general work in the library.

The need for new computers will be addressed by removing the old computers on the first floor and replacing them with new ones on the second floor, according to Cooper.

He said all seating will have USB outlets and there will be plenty of electricity available so students can use their laptops and other equipment with ease.

Students can still check out computers on the first floor and use them on the first floor with access to wireless internet, but Cooper said moving the computers to the second floor is a safety measure to protect the equipment from a potential flood or hurricane.

“The first floor is not as safe as the second floor,” he said.

The ASK! Center is in the early stages of development, and testing out furniture samples and getting student feedback is the first step.

Then hard construction will begin in February or March with the installation of walls and floor work.

Next, the furniture that students help select will be placed; lastly, the technology will be installed.

“We’re hoping to launch this by the fall semester,” said Cooper.

During the renovations, the second floor will remain open because construction will only impact a fraction of the library space, according to Cooper.

The space being renovated will be cornered off as students await their ideal library space.

“We are planning this new accumulation of services at the ASK! Center to provide additional convenience,” he said. “In many ways, it will be a one-stop shop for students.”

About the Author

Sofia Galiano
: News Director Assistant, former BBC Managing Editor. I'm a senior journalism major and psychology minor. I wrote for the South Florida Times through the Liberty City Link in spring 2014 and have written for The Beacon since fall 2013.

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