Long before COVID-19 was a concern, changes were in the works at The University of New Mexico's College of University Libraries & Learning Sciences. Since July 2018, University Libraries (UL) leaders have been thinking about how to use its on-campus spaces to better benefit student success. Thanks to their efforts, when campus finally opens back up, the community will have several new areas to explore.

Soon, the South Campus Repository will be opening and housing about one million volumes –freeing up a lot of space in Zimmerman Library. Part of that space will house two new spaces to better serve student needs: The Adobe Creative Commons and the Graduate Commons.

The Adobe Creative Commons will be located in the Learning Commons space on the first floor of Zimmerman Library. Planning is already complete (including student input) and funding secured. The plan includes multiple workstations capable of running all the Creative Cloud apps as well as specialty equipment for sound, video and other digital tools. The Adobe Creative Commons in Zimmerman Library is expected to open Fall 2020, pending campus limited operations status.

With the full support of the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Office of the Provost, a new Graduate Student Commons will also be constructed in Zimmerman Library. Major funding for the commons is being provided by a generous gift from Jim and Mary Lois Hulsman, supplemented by a NM legislative allocation. Planning has already started with a target opening date of Spring 2021.

Graduate students also made it known they would like to have a large space where they can study, collaborate with peers, meet with colleagues and faculty, practice and make presentations, research and learn, along with lockers to store their possessions. A suitable space of about 7,000 square feet in Zimmerman on the lower level has been identified. Currently the space, located in the southeast corner, is occupied by library Technical Services and Collections departments.

In order to clear the space for the Graduate Student Commons, 17 employees and 3 student employees will be relocated along with all their processing workspaces into Parish Memorial Library (PML). PML will transition into a library services building closed to the public. Student use of PML has been declining for years and dropped dramatically since the opening of the McKinnon Center for Management in May 2018. In the new configuration, the Technical Services and Collections units will be housed on the first and second floors, a space equivalent to that being vacated in Zimmerman. The basement already houses the Library IT department of 14 staff. Parish Library staff will be assigned to other library departments.

Eventually, shelved books and journals will be moved from PML, most to the South Campus Repository, but many to Zimmerman Library to support students and researchers in Business, Economics, Management, and Public Administration. This move will improve access to these collections and services as Zimmerman Library is open for much longer hours than the current PML schedule. Arrangements will be in place during the transition to speedily retrieve materials from PML by request for student or faculty use.

Consolidating collections and public services into three buildings – Zimmerman Library, Fine Arts & Design Library and Centennial Science & Engineering Library – will ease a tight staffing situation created by past and future budget cuts and ensure that Zimmerman Library can remain open for extended hours during the semester and 24 hours at mid-terms and finals.

Questions and comments should be directed to Associate Dean for Public Services, Mark Emmons, emmons@unm.edu.