If you’re planning on stopping by the library for some summer reading, you’ll have to skip the Maui Community College library this time around. It’s true: Gatsby, Yossarian, and about 61,998 others have migrated to the belly of what at this time next year will be the “wellness center.” What constituted towering stacks within the walls of the campus library is now in 5,000 cardboard boxes on the floor of a room designed to house yoga balls and dumbbells.
As a result, students will have to go off campus to check out books, pore over microfilm, and speak in loud whispers.
“This is my second renovation,” said head librarian Dorothy Tolliver, who has worked at the MCC library for 15 years. “It’s just time for us to catch up.”
Indeed, the carpeting, which will be torn up, would have been a fit on the set of Anchorman.
But updating the look of this campus hub is the tip of the iceberg.
The biggest overhaul is the replacement of the building’s air conditioning system.
Physical plant manager Robert Burton said that this entails cleaning the air ducts, replacing the air handler, and scraping out a layer of asbestos, among other things. The big thing, he said, is that the upgrade will give the building’s energy efficiency a boost.
“The building is over forty years old,” Burton said. “It’s about time that we get around to changing the infrastructure.”
Burton said the A/C overhaul is vital, and recalled a whole month last year during which the A/C went on hiatus, turning the air from clammy to stuffy. Stuffiness isn’t so good for the volumes, either.
“If you lose your air conditioning, mold and mildew go nuts,” Burton said.
The renovations are part of a bigger project that also includes upgrading the A/C in the science building. Contractor Central Construction is handling the project, which has a price tag of just over $2 million.
And while they expect to complete the science building renovations by the end of this summer, MCC students and faculty should not expect to set foot in the library until at least April of next year.
So where does this leave those who rely so heavily on those stacks in their pursuit of academic achievement?
Missing here, of course, are disgruntled quotes from students who will have to visit the Kahului or Wailuku libraries, or – gasp – a bookstore for the volumes most essential to their coursework (the campus was a ghost town at press time).
“When students found out (about the library closing) they were really unhappy,” said Distance Education Librarian Lillian Mangum. “It’s a really good central location for students to come to between classes, so it will be really hard on them.
But Tolliver says that they are doing all they can to compensate.
“The library is more than just a building. We are still providing the same quality services as we did before,” she said.
Students and faculty still have 24-hour electronic access to forty full-text databases like J-STOR, and over 30,000 electronic volumes. They will also be able to use interlibrary loans and faculty reserves in the student learning center, where librarians will be on hand.
Tolliver said that she views this as more of an experiment than an inconvenience–as a chance to change the way students conduct research.
“The main difference here is the shift in dependence from print to electronics,” she said. MTW