SCF Library and Learning Center

Higher Education

BY CAROL PROBSTFELD SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY APR 16, 2016

Nothing creates excitement on a college campus like new construction, or in the case of the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, the anticipation of new construction. After 10 years of planning, the state legislature this year allocated the final $8.9 million needed to build a new Library and Learning Center on our Bradenton Campus.

We are planning to break ground in the fall on this $17.6-million project and hope to have our new Library and Learning Center fully functional sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. Since receiving the first half of the needed funding in 2014, we have been busy creating and designing a modern library that meets the needs of today’s students and those in the future. I believe we have an incredible—and affordable—design for this facility that combines a technology-focused learning center with the offerings of a traditional library.

Many will ask, why build a library? Isn’t everything on the internet now? Shouldn’t our resources be spent preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math? Those are great questions, one’s we asked ourselves many times through this process. The answers are simple—to be successful in any career in today’s high-tech environment, our students must learn in that environment. Our new Library and Learning Center will provide students with collaborative, technologically-driven learning spaces and will be built with future demands in mind. This one facility will contribute to our students’ success in every career choice they make.

Imagine being a health sciences student learning about the human body. Now imagine sitting in a 270-degree visualization theater. As you are learning about how the human body works you are virtually sitting inside the human body observing what is happening around you. Students will be able to use a digital fabrication “Fab Lab” with computer-controlled tools and 3D printers, media production studios, digital editing rooms and a creativity studio with movable and writable walls. The LLC will feature multi-functional space and provide meeting or event space for the community.

Studies show that students who use libraries are more likely to stay in college, get better grades and graduate on time. By providing our students a state-of-the-art facility, we will attract more students to our Library and Learning Center, provide them with the resources they need to be successful and set them on a path toward employment and success.

This new facility will still feature traditional library collections, but is focused on books and research materials not available online. Students will leverage technology to fast-track them to the online materials they need to complete research and assignments. The collections area will be flexible, so as more materials become available digitally, the space can be transitioned to meet future needs.

This is an exciting time as we prepare to break ground on this new facility. While the money from the state will allow us to build the “bricks and mortar” for the Library and Learning Center, our foundation is raising funds through its capital campaign to provide the technology that will make this facility so dynamic. I invite you to become part of our vision by contacting the foundation at 941-408-1418 or www.scffoundation.net.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

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