Reimagining Stockwell Library
Phase II of Albion College's Stockwell Memorial Library renovation project officially began with the announcement in April 2012 of a $1-million grant from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation of Midland. The foundation's gift anchors a $6.15-million fundraising campaign now under way for this landmark building on the Quad.
In November 2012, the Weatherwax Foundation joined in the project through its $250,000 gift.
Overall, the renovation will help ensure that Stockwell Library remains the "intellectual heart" of Albion College's campus -- but with a new high-tech touch.
"Our plan is to create in Stockwell Library a 21st-century learning center," said Albion College President Donna Randall. "This renovation will provide students and faculty with dynamic new spaces for teaching and learning throughout the building, and it will enhance access to a broad array of technology and academic services."
As part of a master plan adopted in 2010, Albion's Board of Trustees approved a multi-phase renovation of the library, which was constructed in 1938 with a gift from alumna Madelon Stockwell Turner. The first phase was completed in summer 2011 with the transformation of the library's first floor into Cutler Commons, a space featuring the latest technology, contemporary furnishings, and a café. The Commons, made possible by a major gift from Sandy and Sally Stark Cutler, '75, has already become a popular gathering spot for students and faculty.
Architectural planning for Phase II is complete, and renovation work will begin following the successful conclusion of the fundraising campaign. All of the library's four floors are slated to be redesigned to reflect new approaches to teaching, learning, and research. In addition, the electrical and mechanical infrastructure will be updated to support evolving technology needs. The books and other print materials in Stockwell will be moved to the adjacent Mudd building, and the existing stacks will be removed, making way for a four-story atrium filling Stockwell's interior with natural light.
Libraries of the future will provide faculty and students greater access to intellectual resources through the use of technology. One of the chief goals of the library project is to create more space for the training and support needed for students and faculty to gain the greatest benefit from information technology. In addition, many areas of the library will be reconfigured for group study, reflecting today's trends toward team projects and other collaborative work.
One of the most notable innovations coming in Phase II is a flexible space for experimental teaching and learning -- often called a 'sandbox' for new technology. A second area will be outfitted with advanced instructional technology supporting innovative approaches to teaching.
Reimagined as a comprehensive learning center, the library will also allow a dynamic collaboration among numerous academic services, including librarians, instructional technologists, media services, academic support and tutoring, and related programs such as the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.
With the introduction of the Albion Advantage, which assists students in exploring and establishing their future career path, the College is expanding the identity and capacity of its Career Development Office. An important step in that process is to move the office into new and spacious quarters in the library and name the space the John S. Ludington Career and Internship Center, in memory of the 1951 Albion alumnus who was a longtime trustee and benefactor for the College.
"With rapid technological and economic changes taking place in the job market," observed President Randall, "we know we must adapt in order to provide students with the right tools and opportunities needed for their development as knowledgeable and skilled professionals. These enhancements in our career services will ensure that our students will continue to be competitive applicants for employment and graduate study and that they can chart a career path that is meaningful for them and for society."