$1.7 million upgrade in progress for Jones Media Center

Courtesy of the Jones Media Center
Plans for the renovation include doubling the seating and adding an innovation studio.
Courtesy of the Jones Media Center

An innovation studio, tech bar and nearly double the seating space are just a few of the amenities that will be available to students following the $1.7 million renovation of the Jones Media Center.

The renovations, which began during the winter interim period, are expected to be completed by the spring, associate librarian for information management David Seaman said. Seaman is responsible for the Jones Media Center and the Dartmouth Digital Library, among other services.

These changes came about after directors of the center observed an opportunity for greater usage of the facilities, especially since they expected an increase of media-centric projects.

Students and faculty members provided feedback equally, head of digital media and library technologies Anthony Helm said. Students would often move furniture around to create workspaces, and this pattern spurred the idea to increase available seating, Seaman said.

The library conducted a triennial survey in 2014, sent out to 1,528 undergraduates and 771 graduates, which also provided feedback that shaped plans for the center.

One new addition will be an innovation studio — a malleable workspace made up of glass accordion-style walls. Students and professors will be able to make use of the space as a small classroom or open the walls to include more seating space. The back wall will be comprised of flat monitors and has green screen capabilities. Next to the studio will be three offices for staff workers and consultants.

The center moved a large collection of microfilms to storage and will move their media collection of over 15,000 DVDs and 5,500 video tapes behind the help desk, thus rearranging the layout of the center.

Staff and technology help have been moved more toward the center of the space to make them more accessible and expedite service. Lookup stations will be installed next to the circulation desk so that users can search for materials they need.

The new casual seating will vacate some of the equipped workspaces for students actually in need of the technological capabilities at those workstations. Combined seating capacity will increase from 48 to 88.

Several spaces are being created in which students can work, such as the “living room,” which will allow students to engage in group presentations and gaming.

Helm also hopes to obtain the “whisper room,” or a sound-contained box, from the music department, which will then become available to students who need voiceover work.

New screens around the center will showcase a variety of media-related programs and opportunities for students.

A new Tech Bar will supply equipment that students can borrow, as well as provide training and consultation for the equipment and projects. Newly-purchased equipment such as sports cameras will also be available for use.

The Center will continue to offer its services during the renovations, though it will have reduced seating and available workstations. Some of the services provides by Jones have been moved to the second floor landing area outside the Center and the Evans Map Room.

Similar presentation facilities exist, such as one in McGill University, which served as inspiration.

Prior renovations have included increasing available office and videotape space along with the implementation of an internship program, former director of Jones Media Center Michael Beahan said.

Beahan said that adaptability is important for a media center, especially one such as Jones which has always been able to have the most up-to-date software and hardware.

“It is important for a media center to continue to innovate and to be able to change with the technology,” Beahan said.

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction appended: January 8, 2014 

The original version of this article indicated that the budget for the renovation is $1.7 billion. The budget is actually $1.7 million.

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