When Michael Brown became the library manager a year ago, he got to work with colleagues to revamp the University of Oregon’s Portland Library and Learning Commons to make it a more efficient, convenient place for students.
With access to more than 10,000 items in the print collection, a variety of digital resources, current journals and newspapers and equipment loans, the library offers a range of resources for all the UO Portland programs. Each program is paired with a specialist librarian in Eugene who students can contact via phone, email or Skype.
The library is getting furniture upgrades, like a new noise-proof booth with a standing desk so students will have a quiet place to make phone calls or record their voices for audio projects. Brown plans to add new chairs, lounge booths with high backs to block noise and new tables with power outlets.
The library offers equipment for students to borrow, including chargers, noise-canceling headphones, microphones, GoPro cameras, card readers and more. Students can even check out a blue energy light therapy lamp to give them an extra boost during the dark winter days, or a digital camera and tripod to create a multimedia project.
Brown said he’s interested in making laptops and voice recorders available too, and he’d like to hear from students about what else they would like to loan.
“I want to make it as convenient for students as possible,” Brown said.
Employees are available to set up technology in classrooms for meetings, classes and other events. The library employs three student workers, including Kelley Mitchell, a library assistant since March 2017.
“I have a lot of love for this job,” Mitchell said. “It’s been a great time getting to know the students and helping them out.”
She said she often introduces students to the research guides on the UO Libraries website and enjoys helping them find citations or proofread their reports and projects.
Paula Martin, access services coordinator, said since she started working at the library eight months ago, it seems like more students are coming in to study and use the spaces. She added that the library staff made it a point this year to reach students in every program during their orientations to tell them about the library and its services.
UO and Portland State University first bought the core of the library collection from the Oregon School of Art and Design in 1991 as a collaboration. The collection grew and moved over the years until it relocated to the White Stag Block in 2008 as the UO Portland Library and Learning Commons.
In addition to the library, the learning commons includes two study rooms, the Skidmore Computer Lab and the Digital Output Room, which offers large-format color printing and scanning services for all students.
The UO Portland Library and Learning Commons is part of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a 40-member group of libraries across the Northwest that allows students to borrow from other schools’ libraries.
The library is open to the public as well as visiting students and researchers. Guests are welcome to check out books and use internet kiosks for e-books and the digital collection. If they bring their own laptops, they can log onto the Guest Wi-Fi to gain access to all the online resources.
Brown registered the library as an official site of the Little Free Library, so it will show up on an online map as a pop-up library for popular fiction and nonfiction books.
Brown said students can let him know what other changes they’d like to see in the library by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
—By Emily Hoard, University Communications