September 2022

A New Semester with Many Changes

It’s the start of a new academic year at Illinois and, though I don’t want to jinx things, it’s feeling almost back-to-normal. I’m excited to see a large number of people all across campus—and in our library spaces. I’m happy to report there are already large numbers of students utilizing our new Orange Room in the Main Library. Foot traffic in our libraries is vastly outstripping what we saw last year with the return to in-person instruction.

I couldn’t be more proud of the changes we’ve made to support our undergraduate students. We have a dedicated page, Find Undergraduate Library Services, to illustrate these changes. Undergraduates can find targeted information about study spaces, collections, loanable technology, and the Writers Workshop here. Thanks to John Laskowski and his Web Team for the sheer amount of content that went up online. Thanks also to JP Goguen for capturing the images that illustrate the changes.

In addition, there’s also a new Study Space Directory that lists the study spaces across all our campus libraries. This page also includes the food and drink policy, noise level, and room temp for each space. We’ve put together an extensive communications plan to get the word out about these study spaces, which includes campus bus ads, targeted emails to undergrads, and digital signs in residence halls, recreation centers, and the Illini Union. Kudos to Heather Murphy for her hard work and creativity.

With all these changes in spaces, I want to remind everyone about the availability of the 450 office suites in Main for workspaces. I encourage any Library employee to use these spaces for work-related activities or meetings. Additional details are below. 

Finally, a big shoutout to Library IT and Facilities for all their hard work over the summer and as we neared the first day of instruction. It’s been crunch time and they’ve really made it possible for everything to happen on time. Also to the individuals who make up the TLAS unit. This remarkable group of people came together from Undergrad and RIS with enthusiasm and commitment to create a vital and responsive environment for our undergrads. 

Here’s to a great year ahead and to all of your contributions to ready the Library.

John Wilkin
The Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian