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DePaul University Library initiates phase three of renovations

The Forum in DePaul University Libraries
Roshanna Sylvester (left), director of Studio CHI, and university archivist Andrea Bainbridge solve a digital photo puzzle in the newly remodeled second floor of the John T. Richardson Library. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
This fall, the DePaul University Library launched the third phase of its renovation plan. The renovation of the second floor includes new offices, more collaborative research spaces and new studios, such as the Maker Hub and 1581, with access to technology for the entire student body. Following a grand opening on Sept. 27, the second floor is now open for use to the university community.

"Over the last several years, DePaul's faculty and staff from across the university have collaborated to design and build a state-of-the-art library. Each phase of the renovation has delivered improved learning support for our students, as well as innovative research tools for our faculty and staff," said President A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., in his remarks at the opening event. "With the completion of this third phase, members of the university community now have access to opportunities to create new work in media, and collaborate across programs."

The Maker Hub features an array of tools and resources for the university community, including 3D scanners and printers, a vinyl cutter and laser cutters. This space is designed to be a "makerspace" where all staff, students and faculty can collaborate and create.

"These new additions will allow the library to serve even more as a platform for exploration, growth and innovation in the curriculum at DePaul," says Scott Walter, university librarian. "The Maker Hub adds equity to the manufacturing process by serving DePaul's diverse, interdisciplinary population and offering access to technology used in designing and creating the objects they consume."

Also included in this renovation is 1581, a suite of studios designed to have the highest quality of digital audio, video and other content creation technology available for research, green-screen video and digital imaging. The name '1581' was inspired by technology and entrepreneurship centers such as 1871 and is an important date for the DePaul community - it was the year that St. Vincent de Paul was born. Two new "Idea Labs" also are available for small groups of faculty and students for collaboration. New and expanded office space was also created for the Faculty Instructional Technology Services and Research and Instruction.

The renovation also included a permanent home for Studio CHI, a center focused on promoting digital scholarship across the university, and other, interdisciplinary programs will find new support, including the Cross-College Collaboration Task Force and the DePaul 'maker' community.

"The library has always been a makerspace; we're just taking it up to the next level and embracing this new technology," says Roshanna Sylvester, director of Studio CHI. "Studio CHI is focused on fostering and supporting research at the interface between humanities and computing, so the library is the perfect place for us."

When asked what this space means for the DePaul library, librarian Megan Bernal says, "We're able to provide the most current resources in academic work now. Beyond papers and books, people can create using media and digital technology. We can't wait to see these new resources used in creative ways by our campus community. "

For more information on phase three, visit the library's website