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Renovations and Off-Site Moves

Renovation: Smathers Library
Smathers Library (also known as Library East) is the oldest library on the University of Florida (UF) campus. Completed in 1925/26, Smathers Library was expanded 3 times over the years to accommodate faculty, student and collection needs. As services expanded, so did the need for accommodating processing and office areas. In 1989 and 1990, in addition to housing most of the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections, Smathers began housing a variety of staff office/processing areas that today include the Digital Library Center, the Library Bookstore, Cataloging/Metadata, Acquisitions/Licensing, Preservation/Conservation, Emerging Technologies, and Information Technology (http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/east.html). 

In an attempt to recognize that research, group study and public seating areas are an important element for our students, faculty and visitors, the University of Florida Libraries have plans to reinstitute the public areas within the Smathers Library. Information Technology will move to UF’s Eastside Campus as of June 2010, allowing the processing areas of Special Collections to be relocated to the 1st floor of Smathers, and freeing space on the 2nd floor to return the Reading Room to its former glory. Cataloging/Metadata and Acquisitions/Licensing will also move from their current locations on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Smathers to an off-campus facility later in 2010.  The Libraries intend to reassign the space to Special and Area Studies Collections.

Renovation: Off-Campus Commercial Facilities
Considerations for off-site moves include a number of changes to traditional workflows. When a lease of off-site office space was considered for Cataloging/Metadata and Acquisitions/Licensing, a list of questions was developed. The list was used to interview librarians at other research universities who had already accomplished a move off-site to existing commercial properties. Interviews were held with Florida State, Duke, Harvard, and Pittsburgh.

Questions were resolved in priority order. It was felt that being within close proximity of the main campus would expedite once-a-day delivery of processed materials and allow employees at both locations to utilize readily available public transportation. Parking on the main campus will be further facilitated through the purchase of a few shared carpool tags. The leased facility will have videoconferencing capabilities (also available in the Smathers Library and Health Science Center Libraries) to assist with training, development, and meetings/events.
The previous UF occupants of the commercial building had administered their own telephones and servers because the site is on non-campus property. The University does not maintain or offer support for leased commercial sites. In addition, housekeeping staff will need to be employed at the commercial site, and the previous occupants have recommended retaining the staff they had hired.

Renovation: Off-Campus University Construction
Planning for the off-site move of Information Technology began with an architectural discussion, since the East Campus facility was to be newly constructed on University of Florida property approximately 4 miles from the main campus. The construction is to be completed by June 2010.

Floor plans were swiftly created in fall 2009; the main initiative involved virtualizing the Libraries’ servers, so that the planned move for Information Technology would include people and offices without the necessity of moving servers off-site. Currently, the servers are housed within the Smathers Library and Marston Science Libraries, duplicating equipment to allow for uninterrupted service. The environment has not included generator back-up, more than minimal monitored physical access, and seamless recovery from power outages and other unforeseen emergencies. Virtualizing servers will allow enhanced security, streamlined workflows (the system administration is done in partnership with UF Computing and Networking Services), and automatic back-up of applications without the need to purchase additional hardware.

Considerations for the move include providing for transportation of equipment/mail, having close geographic access to a loading dock (IT will be located on the 1st floor, adjacent to the loading dock area), and identifying access needs (security will be maintained via Blackboard/Gator 1 card swipes). Purchase of Altiris remote management software will assist IT personnel with the upgrade and management of software and systems for public use workstations as well as faculty and staff applications at all locations.

Renovation: Off-Campus Shared Considerations
I
rrespective of the situation, library renovations today take into account the constantly changing workflows of the profession. One aspect of these changes is the need for more open flexible spaces. Enhanced teamwork and collaboration in library environments translate into simplifying floor plans to accommodate the flow of people, ideas, and materials. For Cataloging/Metadata and Acquisitions/Licensing, this means simplifying existing spaces—removing the barriers and walls that exist between unit work areas. For IT Programming, it means creating a collaborative space that houses members of a subunit within one large open space to encourage communication and work efficiencies.

To maximize the cost benefits of a distributed workforce, video conferencing capabilities have become a necessity for the schedule of general meetings, training, and events planning. Each off-campus site will be equipped with video conferencing alternatives. Units also share surplus furnishings, and try to minimize the need for new purchases by retaining much of their original desk configurations and equipment.