Zimmerman Library
East wing of Zimmerman Library ground floor as it appears today.
Credit: Patricia Campbell

After extensive research and planning the Zimmerman Library Learning Commons construction will begin at the end of the Spring Semester with an expected opening at the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester.

This first phase in the realization of the Zimmerman Library Master Plan will create a large open space on the east side of the first floor allowing the maximum flexibility for students to create the study and collaboration spaces they need. Current group study rooms and staff spaces will be reconfigured to add an additional 3,000 square feet of space for student use. New bathrooms and an improved emergency exit have already been completed. The Accessibility Services Space will not be changed.

In 2013 the planning team conducted library site visits at a dozen academic instituions, both large and small, throughout the country. These visits included University of Washington, University of Denver, University of Virginia, Duke University, and University of North Carolina among others. These library systems already have an established learning commons or have undergone a major renovation.

The site visit team came away with insights into successful and not so successful choices in services and spaces. Among the more interesting findings:

  • * Multiple seating options are critical and booths were incredibly popular.
  • * Planners and designers included as many writing surfaces as possible  -- walls, table tops, mobile walls, touch screens.
  • * Color was used to identity spaces and create wayfinding.
  • * Flat panels were everywhere with some placements being more successful than others. They were heavily used in group study rooms but not used when put in open spaces.
  • * Networking and electrical—everywhere. Adding electrical outlets increased the use of otherwise low use areas.
  • * Mobile computing stations were popular.

Once construction begins in May the entire east side of the first floor will be closed. Circulation and reference services will be shifted into the Zimmerman Lobby and employees will be temporarily relocated. This project is the result of hard work and collaboration between University Libraries, UNM Office of Capital Projects and Planning and Campus Development. 

If you have questions about the project, here is more information.