Welcome to UND and the UND Libraries!
As many of you know, the medical school and the law school have separate libraries, reporting to their respective deans. Both moved into renovated or new spaces in recent years. Then it was the Chester Fritz Library’s turn! From 2016-18, we undertook several smaller renovations, including a mini-renovation of the Reference area, several maintenance items (a new chiller tower on the roof, upgrades to our HVAC system, replacement of pipes beneath the Library), and the opening of our One Button Studio, which allows students and faculty to create videos without the need for a strong technological background. Then, in November 2018, we embarked on the biggest renovation of the Library since the building addition in 1981.
Since November 2018, we have been working hard to upgrade the Library’s space and move to a new, exciting, user-focused service model – an Academic One Stop, with partners from across campus focused on providing complementary services to meet the teaching, learning, and research needs of our faculty, students, and staff and the broader community. Our partners in these initiatives include University IT, which moved into the first floor of the Library in July 2019; the Writing Center, which moved into newly renovated space on the 3rd floor in August 2020; High Performance Computing in the form of our new Artificial Intelligence/Virtual Reality Lab studio suite on the third floor, which is near-completion; University Art Collections, which is beginning to utilize new display spaces and digital options; and more. We are also discussing collaborations with the new Nistler College of Business and Public Administration, which will be directly connected via a skywalk between their second floor and our third floor. We have also created a new Knowledge Commons at the top of the new grand staircase, where users can access multiple services, including our Peer Research Consultants, and where other services from across campus will be available on a “pop up” basis, when this is again feasible. For example, Student Services, Career Services, TTaDA, and the Writing Center partnered with us to design the Learning Commons, and may offer services as needed.
We invite everyone to come view our evolving space. We are still finalizing some areas: the Reading Room, the fourth floor Conference Room & Event Space, a refreshment area on the first floor; some exterior features, such as landscaping and a South Tower; and more. But many areas have been completed. In addition to our renovated partner areas and our new Knowledge Commons, we have seven new group study rooms, equipped with technology; new open study spaces; compact shelving to hold lower-use but still important collections; new instruction rooms; and new furniture and technology options throughout the Library.
Beyond physical spaces, we’ve made huge forays into digital spaces. The Library has worked with faculty, students, and staff on the Open Educational Resources Working Group. Thus far, our OER initiatives have saved students $8.5 million in textbook costs, in just 4 years! We have also built the UND Scholarly Commons, an institutional repository holding text, images, journal articles, research data files, a complete digital inventory of the UND Art Collections, copies of UND-created Open Educational Resources, and much, much more. In October 2018, we also completed the Chester Fritz Library Strategic Plan, which is integrated with One UND. Watch this space – we have more to come!