Michelle Taylor, junior
"We have a library on the MCV Campus that is for grad students but not on the Monroe Park Campus. Now, I want to consider going to graduate school here, to take advantage of this great new place."
Reflective of how students use libraries today, the new building will be light filled and innovative media rich. It will be designed for change, to adapt as technology and student needs shift in the future. Furnishings will be flexible. Most important, 90 percent of the new space will be for student use, not for storing books or materials. Vast displays of artwork and an abundance of natural lighting and views of campus will engage imaginations and will inspire conversation and reflection.
From the moment this building comes into view, you'll feel the vitality of the community it represents. With dramatic openings and expansive glass, inside and outside speak to each other. Passersby will see the activity inside. A big screen facing Shafer Court will serve as a rally point and community beacon. Envision watching basketball, films, kinetic art, recorded concerts on The Compass. Imagine a transformed campus center.
A university is a group of buildings gathered around a library. Historian Shelby Foote said that, or something like that. Here in Richmond, VCU literally grew up around the library that sits in the center of Monroe Park Campus. When VCU formed in 1968, leaders knew the modern new university needed a library. One of the first new buildings for the emerging educational powerhouse, James Branch Cabell Library opened in 1970. All around the big box at 901 Park Ave., VCU has grown up. After 45 years of physical and intellectual expansion in our vibrant learning community, now's the time for the library to grow.
We see it every day in one of the busiest libraries in the commonwealth. It defies logic but is certainly true: The more research materials go online, the more people flood our building.
Why is that? We house expertise, materials and equipment in one convenient place--with coffee. Moreover, the act of learning is a social act, a collaborative exchange of ideas and information. To be sure, some work demands solitude. Yet even when a researcher dives deep into a book, the reader is part of a social contract with the author, who unfolds a thesis, makes an argument, seeks understanding and invites intellectual discourse.
Today, much academic effort brings people together to work with others. A faculty mentor and a graduate student hone an idea. A tutor helps a struggling student. Two classmates study side-by-side and share class notes.
Undergraduates fill our space at all hours. They read, think and talk about what they're reading or thinking. Clustered around whiteboards, hunched over laptops or crammed around group-study tables, finishing the others' sentences, they solve problems together, create multimedia presentations and study for tests. Or, they come here to seek advice from expert librarians. For so very many reasons, the library as place is a key component in the busy triad of student life--classroom, home, library.
The new library — at The Compass on Shafer Court, at the geographic center and symbolic heart of the Monroe Park campus — offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for donors. Your investment will touch every single student on our campus. The $10 million Campaign for VCU Libraries augments funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia. These private funds will enhance technology and student-centered library environments. Your gift is a lasting investment in student academic success. Please make VCU Libraries your philanthropic priority in 2014. Gifts to VCU Libraries are tax deductible as allowed by law.