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Ribbon-Cutting Set for New Learning Commons in Porter Henderson Library

January 31, 2011

The formal opening of the new Learning Commons on the first floor of Angelo State University’s Porter Henderson Library will be celebrated with a ribbon-cutting inside the library’s new main entrance at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3.

The ribbon-cutting will celebrate the completion of the $4.38 million project which renovated some 28,000 square feet of the library facility. The indoor ceremony will be in the library’s northwest corner adjacent to the facility’s main entrance, now on the north side of the building opening up onto the University Mall. The ceremony is open to the public.

Program participants will include ASU President Joseph C. Rallo; Library Executive Director Maurice Fortin; Theresa Drewell, associate vice chancellor for facilities, planning and construction, Texas Tech University System; and San Angelo resident Joe Henderson, son of ASU library namesake, Porter Henderson. Other members of the Henderson family will be honored guests at the ribbon-cutting.

The Learning Commons is the most striking feature of the renovation, replacing the former reference room with open spaces that invite collaborative work and study. Computer terminals and flat-panel screens, which open a world of digital resources to students, faculty and visitors, now dominate the first floor rather than books. The Circulation Desk remains from the previous layout though with a sleek, ultra modern look. The former reference desk has been moved to a new location and renamed the Research Assistance Desk to serve a downsized reference collection.

The Learning Commons even includes a coffee shop, named Common Grounds, where students can buy coffee, beverages, pastries, salads, sandwiches and other treats during library hours.

Features of the renovation were designed to encourage collaborative learning in line with today’s technology and the learning style of a new, highly connected generation of students.

Library Executive Director Fortin said, “By providing a collaborative learning environment that facilitates student interaction with other students, faculty, staff, technology and information regardless of its format, the purpose of the Learning Commons is to refocus the Library as the heart of learning on campus.”