Clough Commons set to open

The G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons will open its doors to the Tech community for the first time on Saturday, Aug. 20. The Clough Commons will be open every day during all hours and feature a large number of common spaces, including 2,100 seats and group study rooms.

The facility will house classes, labs and lecture halls for freshman and sophomore classes such as biology, chemistry and physics. Located in the center of campus, the aim of the building is to enhance cross-disciplinary education by providing a common meeting space for students from different disciplines. To help facilitate this goal, a number of different campus departments and services have been relocated to the building, including tutoring and the Office of Information Technology (OIT).

Designed to be one of the most sustainable buildings in the country, Clough Commons will receive only 11 percent of its water supply from the city of Atlanta. The rest will be drawn from a 1.6 million gallon underground cistern located under the new Tech Green.

The Library is responsible for the physical management of the Clough Commons, facilitating collaboration between departments in the building and extending programming from its services (such as the Open Forum series) to encourage interaction between students from various disciplines. Clough Commons is physically connected to the Library on two levels, allowing access from one building to the other.

The Clough Commons will have an impact on both the way the Library is operated and on its role on campus in the future. By taking ownership of this building the Library effectively doubled the space that it previously managed, resulting in the shift of some resources from the Library to the new building.

More importantly, the Clough Commons represents an increasing shift in the Library’s role on campus from being a repository of information for students to one that actively engages in increasing collaboration and interaction among various groups such as faculty and staff.

“What we see with Clough is a different role on campus – a far more involved role in classroom education and programming and support of that… it’s a different role for the Library but a really good direction for us to go,” said Dean of Libraries Catherine Murray-Rust.

As more information in the form of journals and publications move online, the Library will move its printed material to accommodate more collaborative learning spaces. According to Murray-Rust, students and faculty substantially use online databases subscribed to by the Library.

The Library will continue to serve as a conduit of scholarly information, albeit in a very non-traditional way. Just as the collaborative spaces in the Library influenced the design of spaces in the Clough Commons, information gathered from the latter will affect future renovations in the Library. Pending funds for the renovation of the Library, a project could potentially be underway to provide a new learning space for masters students.

“If a Library tries to stay as a traditional Library then they will fail because they won’t be doing what they’re supposed to be, which is providing materials, providing help using them and creating a theater to do academic work. Clough [Commons] gives us a space to make this transition to be more useful and add value to programs on campus,” Murray-Rust said.

The Library also conducted a renovation on the first floor to merge both the circulation and reference desks together, thereby providing a one-stop location for all patrons to ask questions about where to find resources and how to borrow items.


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