ESF’s New Moon
The College’s ‘Academic Living Room’ Gets a New Look
The moon is a little fuller on the ESF campus — Moon Library, that is — following an extreme makeover during the summer. The renovation marked the first time since the library opened in 1968 that any major work was done there.
The new design enhances the library’s reputation as the academic living room of campus with new computer workstations, new tables and chairs that students can arrange to best suit their needs, and “living spaces” with comfortable chairs and couches, said Elizabeth Elkins, director of college libraries. And since their return to campus in August, students have made themselves at home.
“I really like it. It’s more comfortable and more inviting to study,” said Erica Hansen, a senior biochemistry major.
The library’s mission, vision and values statement focuses on providing a user-friendly environment, and Elkins noted this renovation fits those ideas.
“The excitement now is that the students love it,” said Elkins. Students are enjoying the new comfortable couches and chairs in the “living areas,” but have also taken to moving the octagon and rectangular tables to suit their study needs.
“They’re pushing them together in configurations that work for them and that’s the beauty of it,” Elkins said.
“Libraries today are much different than they were in the past,” she said. They are no longer places where people get “shushed” for talking or banished for having a beverage with them. Today’s students gravitate to the library for research, group study sessions, tutoring, class projects and socializing.
The redo has solidified Moon’s reputation as the heart of campus. “This is the place to hang out,” said Travis Smith, a senior biochemistry major, while reclining in one of the plush new chairs.
“We joke that the comfortable furniture was delivered with students already in it,” said Elkins.
She noted the returning students are very appreciative of the new Moon.
“It’s a lot more comfortable,” said Amanda Saralegui, a senior conservation biology major. “It used to be drab and plain-old, same-old. Now it has a nicer atmosphere.”
“I like the new, open modern look,” said Smith. “When I first came I, I thought, ‘Wow.’”
The open look was achieved by knocking out the old reserves room, opening the library’s storefront and moving the service desk to the middle of the library.
The new service desk was designed by the library staff and handles circulation, reserves and reference. “We call it The Desk,” said Elkins.
The project falls in line with the college’s commitment to sustainability. The furniture is being made by Artistry in Wood of East Syracuse, N.Y. The company follows green manufacturing practices, such as using wood from managed timberlands, using machinery that reduces the amount of dust particulates released into the air, and working with vendors who also follow green manufacturing practices.
“It was a great project to be involved in as sustainability is something we try to practice every day,” said Gregory McCartney of Artistry in Wood. McCartney said he’s seeing more institutions incorporating green building practices in their projects. “It’s definitely becoming more of a trend.”
Students have expressed an interest in some of the choices made during the project. One student questioned the use of leather furniture. Elkins explained that the staff wanted something that would look good and stand up to the wear and tear of constant student use. The staff also weighed the use of leather against plastic furniture coverings, which are produced with numerous chemicals. “We felt for sustainability the leather would hold up better and have less of an impact on the environment. We did look at all the options, though, ” she said.
While choosing the fabrics for the new furniture, the library staff was aided by Georgia Raynal of GPR Designs.
“She helped with the fabric choices and put together really intriguing and wonderful fabrics to mix and match all over the room,” Elkins said. “It’s become a very comfortable and very classy space on campus.”
With the final touches being put on the library, Elkins said she is thinking ahead to Phase II. “I dream of more enhancements. We’re in a continuous improvement mind-set.”
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