University Libraries Receive State Grant to Remodel Locations

$25,000 was awarded to Loyola University Libraries under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help remodel its locations across both campuses.

Loyola’s libraries received a $25,000 grant, according to a press release on Aug. 12. The grant is meant to provide emergency relief and help support libraries following the pandemic. 

The university libraries plan on using the funds to revamp library spaces reserved for graduate students across both campuses, as part of their grant project titled “Ready For Ramblers”, according to the press release. 

This grant was issued by the State of Illinois under the program “On the Road to Recovery”: Transforming Library Spaces, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), according to the press release. ARPA, one of the stimulus bills passed during the pandemic, is meant to deliver direct relief in “rescuing the American economy,” according to the White House.

“I applaud the Loyola University Chicago Libraries as they adapt their essential services to ensure the safety of students and faculty during this challenging time,” Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said in the press release. 

Graduate student spaces have already undergone renovations at library locations on both campuses, including minor changes to the Information Commons (IC), Dean of libraries, Marianne Ryan, said in an email to The Phoenix. 

“Working with our partners at Loyola Facilities, we were able to further enhance the spaces with additional furniture like tablet armchairs, computer and conference tables, and chairs,” Ryan wrote. “We also were able to acquire some new study pods for the IC.”

The study pods are a secluded booth in the IC that provide a room like setting without needing a reservation. 

Some students, including sophomore Caroline Lyngen, were unaware of the grant, despite additions to the IC, a common space used by both graduate and undergraduate students. 

“I didn’t know at all, but it sounds interesting.” the multimedia journalism major said, “It should’ve been publicized to everybody. I have classes in the library. I feel like I should’ve seen something.” 

Senior Sarah Sumners, also said she hadn’t seen announcements or promotions for the renovations.

Max Xu, a graduate student, said he received an email about the renovations to graduate student spaces and has been hesitant to try them out on the Lake Shore Campus.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t know when to use [the lounge and group study room]” Xu said. “This room is too big and the other one is too crowded.”

With renovations being made to graduate student spaces and some undergraduate areas, students raised a concern for lack of awareness about the added resources.

“I think it will benefit those that will use the library, but for those that don’t live on campus or don’t visit Lake Shore Campus enough will not have the benefit of being able to go to the IC or the Cudahy Library and take in what the grant is,” Winchester said.

With moderate renovations and add-ons to the library, students have seen minimal to no changes. 

Xu, who has been using both the graduate student lounge and the group study room in Cudahy Library, said he doesn’t see any drastic renovations. 

“I don’t know how much the budget was, but it doesn’t seem like they were modified in any way,” Xu said. 

To obtain access to these spaces, graduate students must check out a key at the front desk and can only reserve the space for a maximum of four hours. 
The University Libraries relations and communications department held a celebration for the remodeling of the Lewis Library graduate student space on Oct. 13, and plan on holding a similar celebration for the Cudahy Library space on Oct 27th. Graduate students may reserve spaces online at the Loyola Libraries website.

Featured image by Austin Hojdar | The Phoenix

Samantha Martinez

Samantha Martinez