On the second floor of James Branch Cabell Library, the Learning Commons opened in 2010 and students enthusiastically embraced the 13,000 square feet of group and individual study areas, café-like booths, and open spaces.
The Learning Commons illustrates the future of modern academic libraries.
Cabell visitor counts are up by 13.6 percent compared to the last year, to 2.1 million individual visits.
For fall semester, 2011, the gate count was 900,845.
Cabell is often so full there are no desks to be had.
8,050 people used the library 2 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.
Use was up 25 percent in Fall, 2011 compared to 2010.
Round-the-clock hours, flexible seating, dry boards, group study areas and more serve modern student habits and schedules.
On 57 days in Fall semester 2011, the gate count exceeded 10,000 visits.
During fall days when Cabell was open 24 hours, 183,722 people came through the doors.
With their laptops and mobile devices, students don't always need a desk.
Group Study rooms are in high demand and were used by 112,240 students last year; 425 times last year, the 29 group study rooms in Cabell Library were all booked and in use.
Cabell Library has not kept pace with VCU's growth or with the growing diversity of academic work spaces needed by traditional and online students. The university has not added library space since Cabell opened in 1975.Within Virginia, VCU provides the least amount of library space per student of any public academic institution in the Commonwealth. In a study of peer institutions, VCU ranked lowest:
- 31 percent below the average space provided by all institutions and;
- 92 percent below the average of its peers in group study space.
Adding academic work spaces in the a new building and renovating space in Cabell Library will bring VCU into alignment with its peer institutions and other higher education centers in the Commonwealth.
Libraries are uniquely suited to meet contemporary student study needs. In today’s busy, multi-tasking environments rich in distractions, students seek places that create a mindset of scholarship. They see library environments as spaces conducive to and supportive of a variety of study habits. Such library environments are increasingly important at colleges and universities.
In the News
- Johnson named head, innovative media at VCU Libraries
- Have your voices heard at Cabell Life Forum April 3
- UPDATE: Building the new library for VCU's future--Preliminary designs in the works focus on student spaces
- 162,000 square feet project
- 82,000 square feet of new construction
- 80,000 square feet of improvements to the existing building
- $47.5 million total project cost
Then and Now
1975--James Branch Cabell Library completed and designed to serve 17,000 students, seat 2,000 students and house 1 million volumes.
2012--James Branch Cabell Library serves 32,000 students, seats 1,250, and houses 2 million volumes.