Students utilizing Hammes Information Commons at IU South Bend
Go ahead and talk when you visit the Hammes Information Commons in the Franklin D. Schurz Library. No one will shush you.
“This is not a quiet room,” says Michele Russo, dean of Library Services at IU South Bend. “This is a vibrant room. The way students work, and the way faculty members want them to work, is together in groups.”
The Commons is the place for that. The Commons resulted from a renovation of the reference room. Leading donors were Dorene and Jerry Hammes, active members of the South Bend community, who saw the need for a real library improvement.
Russo says that IUSB’s library, like many others, has concentrated in recent years on the virtual library and online resources.
“But as a real place, the library is still an important destination for our students to get help,” she says. “This kind of renovation is a way to keep them coming to us.”
And it is working. Russo says she took an informal survey of students during spring semester. Results show the majority who visited the library regard the Commons as their favorite study spot.
The Commons features computer workstations. Moreover, it features help in the form of the reference librarian as well as IT and media consultants.
And the Commons is accessible to all. It includes an adaptive technology room with workstations that elevate or lower for students confined to wheelchairs. Computers there also feature software that allows students to speak commands rather than type, or have documents or Web pages read to them.
“It really is an exciting place,” Russo insists. “The name is even based on places like the Boston Commons where people go to exchange ideas. Most hours of the day, every seat is filled.”
With students who are talking.