American University of Beirut

AUB President’s Club supports expansion of Jafet Library study areas

​​​​​​A number of Jafet Library’s study areas has been developed or refurbished to accommodate the addition of 140 seats, thanks to financial support from the AUB President’s Club. These additions or enhancements will go a long way towards improving students’ experiences at the Libraries and, by extension, at AUB, providing them with one of the backbones of a true liberal arts college experience: congenial, quiet and pleasant study spaces.

Built-in the early 1950s when AUB had less than 2,000 students, Jafet has for long been in dire need to expand its study spaces to meet the needs of a growing student population which is currently estimated at 8,000. Today, Jafet can accommodate 500 students at a time, although more than 3,000 students visit it on a daily basis.

To ease the problem of limited space, the University Libraries’ management has used various methods including: reorganizing the stacks where the collections of books and journals are shelved; converting many of the print journal subscriptions to online and replacing tens of thousands of bound volumes of old journals with their electronic counterparts; moving from the use of static to mobile shelving systems wherever possible; and developing high-density library material storage in selective areas. These measures have resulted in vacating over 300 square meters of space that were used to accommodate some of the students’ study space needs.

To make the best use of this newly created space, the University Libraries used financial support from the University and from the President’s Club to:

-Develop two beautiful quiet study rooms for senior and graduate students with a total of 105 ergonomic seats and desks, with powerful wireless connection and individual electric socket on every desk; these two rooms are decorated with intricate artwork including collages and photos from the Library’s Archives and Special Collections.

-Relocate the Carrels Room to space in the stacks where students will be much closer to books and periodicals and where there are less noise and student traffic.

-Create space for the expansion of the Reading Reserve Room to accommodate 35 additional seats as well as for the development of a large computer lab and a 25-seat quiet reading room for undergraduate students. These enhancements or additions should be completed before September 2015.

President Dorman, Provost Dallal, Dean Nezameddin, along with members of the President’s Club and special guests gathered in Jafet Library on December 11 to inaugurate and tour the new study areas.

“The President’s Club has helped AUB and its students in so many different ways, but I have no doubt that what they have done here in Jafet Library will, in my opinion, mark as one of the Club’s most valuable and most remarkable projects and contributions to students’ needs. It is enough to know that these rooms will be home to thousands of students who regularly seek a quiet and convenient place to study. . . I again cannot thank the President’s Club enough for the great investment they made in the Library, on facilities that thousands of students will make use of and cherish” said Dr. Lokman Meho, Director of the University Libraries.

“The President’s Club has shown great attention to the Library, recognizing it as one of the most important and highly used student spaces on campus. Every student knows that the Library is the heart of the campus and this expansion and renovation will be greatly appreciated by them since combined, the refurbishing increases capacity by 140 seats. Also, another study room will be developed this summer when the Library undertakes an expansion and upgrade of both the reading reserve room and the student computer lab” said AUB President, Dr. Peter Dorman.

If we were to trace the history of the AUB library, we would see the dire need for additional study space, said Mrs. Mona Khalaf, President of the AUB President’s Club “ The endemic space problem kept on getting aggravated as the number of AUB students kept on increasing as years passed.” According to Mrs. Khalaf, this is why the President’s Club did not hesitate to support the expansion of Jafet Library’s students’ space​.

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