On Sunday, Jan. 6, Crosland Tower opened its doors to students following a three-year renovation effort.
The completion of the library tower project marks the first milestone of “Library Next” — a project that began in January 2016 to update the Institute’s library facilities. The tower is situated next to the Price Gilbert Memorial Library, which was closed over the winter break to begin its own renovation, phase two of “Library Next” construction.
“Library Next” was undertaken due to a shifting dynamic in library usage. The purpose for library visits has generally shifted from using print collections to using digital media and electronic resources. The Institute subsequently placed focus on integrating physical and digital interactions into one space.
Librarians at Tech have emphasized that as the dissemination of information shifts toward digital means, the library must also adapt. Physical collections were moved off campus to make space for collaborative interactions.
Most of the school’s physical collection of books will continue to be stored in the Library Service Center located at Emory.
The tower offers seven above-ground floors that house specialized rooms and study spaces, and they are open 24 hours a day. Due to the overhaul of the heating, cooling, water and lighting systems, Crosland Tower will be able to cut its energy usage by two-thirds.
Visitors might notice the new building’s slab stairs bear a strong resemblance to those in Clough. Climbing them leads to the first floor, which features a science-fiction reading space holding a small collection of physical books. The second floor features an innovation and ideation space, a makerspace and traditional breakout rooms. Many study rooms throughout actually contain wireless monitors for video conferencing capabilities.
The third and fourth floors house collaborative multimedia spaces. These include a data visualization lab — similar to that of Price Gilbert — and a dedicated space for retro computing. Additionally, there is a room for high performance computing, which provides software like arcGIS and Jupyter. Other rooms provide creative software like the Adobe Suite. The fourth-floor multimedia studio will be open starting Monday, Jan. 14.
The sixth floor features a dedicated graduate student common. The seventh floor offers a view of the Atlanta skyline and provides quiet study spaces and breakout rooms, in addition to a meeting room and terrace extensions.
The tower also has two lower levels — a basement and a floor named “grove level.” The grove level has a store and an open space reading room, where students can bring in their own computers to work.
On the grove level, visitors can also enjoy the unique chandeliers that hang from the ceiling and automatically play light shows. A terrace still under construction will lead to Clough.
On many floors, charging lockers are provided to students so they can stow their electronics temporarily. Additionally, rooms in Crosland Tower will use a similar reservation system to the rooms in the Clough.
Phase two of “Library Next,” which will complete the project by through a renovation of Price Gilbert replete with connections to Crosland, is expected to be completed by 2020.
Upon completion of phase two, the combined “Library Next” project will have double the seating space that was previously available in Price-Gilbert and Crosland Tower.