After a two-year renovation, the Cabot Science Library reopened in April. This renovation included a transformation of the first floor of the Science Center, including the library, café, and adjacent courtyard.
The library’s new large glass walls make it visible from the Science Center Plaza. As students enter and exit the Science Center, a large projection screen will highlight campus research projects and library resources. The first floor is an open space designed to incentivize conversation. Students can grab a coffee from the coffee bar, or lunch from the café and enter the library for collaborative study. Conversations can flow naturally from the lecture halls and classrooms into the library.
The Discovery Bar features a flexible presentation space with a large two-sided display. Presenters can engage directly with about 30 people gathered around a winding central table. Their remarks can also entice people sitting at the coffee bar and their visual materials will be visible to people walking down the main ramp of the Science Center. This layout emphasizes inclusion and invites onlookers to engage. Regular programs will be scheduled at the Discovery Bar, including some that feature graduate student speakers. The setting is perfect for dissertation progress reports, lab updates, and micro-teaching sessions.
Next to the Discovery Bar, students can meet by appointment with librarians and other campus experts in the ICE Cube, a glass-walled room designed for research consultations. Also on the first floor are puzzle tables, study bays, flexible furniture, and lockers for charging laptops. A video-conferencing room supports remote collaboration for up to ten people.
At the main service desk downstairs, graduate students can borrow print materials, video cameras, and microphones. An onsite print collection connects with a much larger offsite collection with materials that can be requested for pickup at Cabot Science Library.
The Instruction Room allows graduate students to collaborate with library staff in exploring new teaching methods. Modeled after Lamont B30, Harvard Hall 202, and other active learning classrooms with furniture that can be rearranged easily and quickly, the Instruction Room includes three projectors, three video cameras, and an overhead camera. One can present from laptops and phones and connect to several video carts. The room is designed for 24 people, with a movable glass wall to expand into an overflow area.
Two video studios support the creation of simple videos. Both studios have automatic lights, microphones, and cameras and are designed to be easy to use. One contains a large screen to support the recording of conference presentations, job talks, and “flipped classroom” modules. The other includes a green screen that supports creative background choices (pretend to be on the moon, or in the Amazon rainforest, etc.). Videos can be edited at several computer stations available nearby, or at the Lamont Media Lab.
Teaching fellows and undergraduate students can collaborate in small groups by reserving one of the seven group study rooms with large monitors and writable walls. In addition, three personal chat booths can be reserved online for videoconferencing or phone calls.