Board of Trustees favor Learning Center plan that would downsize library space

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

The Elmhurst College Board of Trustees seem to lean towards downsizing library space for summer renovation despite not having any set plan at their Saturday, March 10 meeting.

Trustee Kent T. Dahlgren spoke about the Learning Center’s move to the first floor of the A.C. Buehler Library. 

“I think libraries tend to be less effective as books have become little bit of yesterday’s technology, so I think this will be a great use of space, and it will be great for students,” said Dahlgren.

Trustee William A. Nelson, however, questioned whether this move would take up space that students utilize.

“I frequently go to the library whenever I’m here, what I always find striking is that I have to struggle to find space,” explained Nelson. “My question is maybe a lot of commuter students use that space for studying and working, so will this decrease the place for commuter students or any student to really have a quiet place for studying?”

EC President Troy VanAken supported the idea of condensing space and books in answering Nelson’s concern.

“I think the answer is that we are trying to actually make it so there is some more space, so part of that is that you condense the books, or you come with other ways that increases floor space. And there’s a lot of additional opportunity for that to happen in the library,” said VanAken. 

VanAken also touched on the collaboration for this project being the reason for the planning process taking longer than anticipated.

“We’d love to have it all wrapped up in a nice solid proposal to you so you could approve the exact plan that we would begin doing this summer, but part of that is we’ve been having a lot of discussions with the librarians and other individuals impacted there, so we can try to take into account into all those considerations.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty April Edwards agreed.

“This is a collaborative effort to make sure that this improves services for our students and other resources,” said Edwards.

In an interview after the meeting, Dahlgren in response to a question of where in the first floor of the library will the Learning Center move to said “The plans are really preliminary, but I think they are thinking about moving that kind of fishbowl part. It’s still so early in the process, so I couldn’t tell that for sure yet.”

Additionally, the board approved of revisions of the faculty manual at the meeting. 

In a unanimous decision, the board voted in approval of these revisions as per the Academic Affairs Committee recommendation. These revisions were regarding lecturer positions, teaching load for full time faculty, and terms of appointment as well as teaching responsibilities of faculty. The vote approved the new lecturer position at the college.

The board also approved the college’s strategic plan which is a charter detailing the college’s plan for the next five years.

VanAken talked about the next steps.

“We want this to be a living breathing document, so additional comments and revisions can be done, but we’ve been very transparent with everybody that this is our strategic plan and this is what we are going to do,” said VanAken. “The next step is really inform the operating plan, and that is another opportunity for us to continue to add more detail to what we are going to be actually doing. This is great and it will read nice, but we all know that there is another piece to this that well be talking about which I believe is next for you at the June board of trustee meeting.”