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USC debuts new 'Library of the future'

The fourth floor of the Thomas Cooper Library has been renovated to meet the needs of modern technological demands

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina unveiled their newest edition to the Thomas Cooper Library Tuesday. The fourth floor is now home to the "library of the future", featuring large study spaces, technology based study pods and more than 100 additional seats.

The project began once the students left campus for Thanksgiving break in 2019. With a six week completion goal, the library was finished in just five weeks. UofSC President Bob Caslen, Student Body President Luke Rankin, Dean of Libraries Thomas McNally, and other library staff attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"We have space for students to collaborate, to study together. To study in a space that allows them to be the best that they can."

The goal of the new renovations was to not only add extra seating, but to create a space for students to collaborate with each other through technology. Upon entering the fourth floor, you see multiple glass study pod. Each pod has a TV to connect electronic devices too, white boards, and a panel of buttons to control the lights. The ceilings of the pods have flaps, which are controlled by buttons to open and close, creating a climate controlled, sound-proof study space. The pods are mobile, and can be moved to various locations if necessary. A normal group study room usually costs an average of $100,000. UofSC was able to purchase these pods for close to $40,000. 

"We're really on the cutting edge of technology," Caslen says."This not only enables collaboration physically. It also enables collaboration through technology."

The large study spaces are geared toward bringing in students together, to work with each other in their path towards success.

UofSC is the first college in the state to create this type of collaborative, learning space for students.

"We're absolutely the flagship. We're absolutely the leader. The other libraries look to us in terms of what we're doing," says Dean McNally.

Dean McNally says schools normally spend around 100 million dollars renovating libraries. He says this project can be done at UofSC with just five million dollars.

The University plans to continue renovating each floor of the library to keep up with their growing student population. "Level four is just one of the floors of the library, but it's a road map to the future," said Dean McNally.

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