Posted on December 13, 2022
This article was originally published by the Black Hills Pioneer
Dr. Seuss once wrote, “the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Many college students utilize their school's library to read and learn, and eventually, they use that knowledge to move up in their chosen careers.
Since October 2020, the E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center at Black Hills State University (BHSU) has been closed for business, and in the process of a complete interior renovation.
Finally, after iota’s of hard work from all those involved, the library is open and offering all kinds of student support.
Built in 1973, the university library was in need of an upgrade in order to keep up with educational demands, according to the BHSU website.
Facilities and sustainability assistant director at BHSU, Deborah Liddick, said that the renovation has created a place where students can go to meet all their needs, whether it’s finding a quiet place to study, or meeting with their advisor.
“(Now), it’s more of an official gathering place to study and to do some student support functions in there,” Liddick said.
Business development director for Ainsworth-Benning Construction, Kevin Wagner, talked about the large construction project that the company tackled the last 18 months or so.
The company completed a total renovation of the existing library, along with a 4,000-square-foot addition to the second floor.
The new addition has floor-to-ceiling windows that face Lookout Mountain east of Spearfish, which Wagner said allows a lot of light to flood into the building.
Mostly, open concept, the addition has a fireplace that acts as the focal point of the space.
“The entirety of the rest of the project was just a complete renovation of the basement, main, and then what I would call the second, or the upper floor.” Wagner said.
The project was roughly a 60,000-square-foot renovation, with 25-30 people on average working on it every day.
“This project specifically, was about a $6.75 million project.” Wagner said.
On the university’s end, Liddick said, the renovation cost $9.3 million.
While the library was shut down, students were able to make use of the student union if they needed to study on campus.
“We used a temporary location in the students union, the Jacket Legacy room. We made that like a library function so the students could study,” Liddick said. “When a student needed a book, the librarians would go, they had full access to all the books, they would go and pull the book from the shelf for the student.”
The books are not yet moved in to the library, but the librarians and faculty have access to the books that are being held in the Little Jacket Daycare, and in the basement of the library.
“We still have to move the books back in, but all of the staff is working in the building, the students can utilize the building. We have regular operating hours,” Liddick said.
The library now contains a career center, tutoring center, writing lab, math lab, innovation lab, help desk, professional advisors offices, and study rooms.
The furniture in the building includes couches, “comfy” chairs, and desk cubicles.
“There’s a place for whatever style studying you want. If you want to by quiet, or you want to be like a people-watcher and see who’s comin’ in, there’s places to sit and watch people, and study,” Liddick said. “You can be seen or not be seen.”
With 11 study rooms throughout the building, multiple students are able to meet in groups at a time, without disturbing others studying individually in the library.
Currently the rooms are first-come, first-serve, and have no time limit.
“If it looks like somebody’s camping out in the room, possibly (librarians) could start a sign-up sheet.” Liddick said.
Other than the books, the last item going into the library is Einstein Bros. Bagels, which Liddick said would be going in over winter break.
On the wall next to the bagel shop is a mural done by 2021 BHSU alumnus Hope Christofferson.
“She highlighted all of the items of the Black Hills and the Spearfish area, and if you look at it, you can pick out little nuggets of different things,” Liddick said.
The E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center hours can be found on the BHSU website.
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