It’s Coming … It’s Coming … It’s Here! The Libraries and OIT Open The Commons

A Synthesis of Research and Technology Resources is Now Available in One Location

It’s every student’s worst nightmare: you have a problem, but you’ll spend hours wandering around campus trying to find a solution. Perhaps your NetID login isn’t working. Or that new wireless card you bought makes your laptop do funky things. Or maybe you’ve been slammed with a research project that’s due in a couple of days, and you don’t know where to begin. The last thing you want to do is be shuffled all over campus, from office to office, feeling foolish and spending half a day trying to get your problems solved.

Now, thanks to a collaboration between the UT Libraries and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), some of the most frequently used library and technology resources are available in one location, called the Commons, located on the second floor of Hodges Library.

Perhaps you’ll notice first the friendly Commons consultants sitting at the large service desk. Here students can check out books and get reference assistance and computer lab help, as well as computer help desk support, such as installing wireless cards and spyware protection. The Commons also offers help with statistical analysis, evening Digital Media Service drop-off, and book retrieval during late-night hours when the libraries’ other floors are closed.

“The Commons is a place that is defined by student needs,” Barbara Dewey, Dean of Libraries, said. “Students today have many group and collaborative project assignments and need access to technology, as well as inspiring places for individual, contemplative study. We hope the Commons can fulfill all these needs,” Dewey said.

“By bringing so many resources into one common area, we hope to make students’ lives a little easier,” Brice Bible, Assistant Vice President for OIT, said.

Currently, the Commons offers more than forty computers with over sixty different software packages, as well as loaner laptops, scanners, and laser printing capabilities. In addition to the consultant and computer services, the Commons has both group and individual study areas and a large presentation practice room, where students can rehearse their power point and other spoken presentations.

The Commons also offers access to the libraries’ Media Center and Studio, where students can view items in the video collection, begin a desktop publishing or multi media project, or borrow a still or video digital camera.

Because students’ work hours often defy the norm, the Commons is open 24-hours from noon on Sunday to midnight on Friday, when classes are in session.

The Commons is intended to be a multi-phased project. Future additions to the area may include more group study and work areas, multi-media and video conferencing capabilities, additional computer workstations, an information kiosk and new media suites.

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