University of Oregon – Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library
In the past, libraries emphasized quiet spaces for individual study. While the renovated Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library still has those areas, it also provides numerous open areas for collaboration along with access to a range of information from all scientific fields and sources. With open areas for collaboration, multiple access points to a range of information from all scientific fields and sources, and specially-equipped, discipline-specific rooms for biology, chemistry, computer science, human physiology, geology, and physics, the 36k SF, $17M renovation has plenty of “WOW” factor.
The facility also showcases a “big data” visualization lab, with audio, video, display, conferencing, collaboration, presentation, and control systems. The data visualization lab is the only place in the state of Oregon where groups can view full resolution, 50-million-pixel images. It allows researchers to gain new insights into huge datasets, build 3D simulations and explore vistas ranging from nanoparticles to vast expanses of outer space. Strategically-designed systems allow relatively non-expert users to display their data without relying on dedicated staff, while also enabling specific operator-controlled visualization research.
The library was designed to support an unprecedented integration of the sciences in UO research and education while remaining adaptable as information technology continues to evolve. Dan Nelson CTS-D, RCDD, Senior Systems Designer says, “Most high resolution video walls are designed with a well-defined single use. In this case the wall had be designed to support numerous multidiscipline uses.”
Study areas feature rolling white boards to promote collaboration and interaction. The building also has a courtyard, and the commons area boasts the whimsically named coffee shop, Elements Ca-Fé.
The positive response to the facility exceeds the library staff’s most optimistic expectations. UO Libraries Dean Adriene Lim says, “We are thrilled. We’re already seeing an impressive increase in the numbers of people using this library. They’re excited by the new services and technologies, and faculty members are quickly finding new ways to use them in their teaching and research.”
Scott Coltrane, provost and senior vice president, says, “This new hub for the sciences is a key part of our master plan to advance our collaborative research and teaching. It provides space for the deep learning and bold thinking that Allan championed in order to transform lives and improve the world.”
Julie Woodman CPSM, attended the grand opening, and was amazed at the energy and activation in the building. “I introduced myself to the librarian, who shared what this meant for her department. Students were now sitting in small groups collaborating and just becoming better acquainted. There were coffee cups in hand everywhere (this IS the Pacific Northwest after all), and most seating areas and tables were full. Prior to the renovation, only science students came to the building, and then they typically got their materials and left, but now students across disciplines were now using the space. Associate Professor of Computer & Information Systems Hank Childs demonstrated two simulations, one of a tornado and the other of a walk-through of the computer model of the facility.”
The Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library is one of only eight winners of the 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Award.