The 22nd-Century Library

October 22, 2009

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Armed with aspirations of doubling the amount of library seating space available to NC State students, university officials and dignitaries from around the state have broken ground on a state-of-the-art, Centennial Campus-based facility that will undoubtedly set the standard for libraries constructed during this century and beyond.

“Unlike our current libraries, which were built in pieces over several decades, this one’s been planned to be something that can grow with NC State and Centennial Campus,” said David Hiscoe, outreach and engagement librarian for NC State. “This will give us a place that truly reflects North Carolina State as a great technological university.”

The 200,000 square-foot Hunt Library, named for former N.C. Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., will help alleviate overcrowded conditions in university library spaces. The UNC university system standard is to provide study seating for 20 percent of university students – currently, NC State libraries can seat less than 5 percent.

“Last April, we had up to 16,000 visits a day to our libraries – that’s filling up Reynolds Coliseum on a regular basis,” Hiscoe said. “Our libraries have been successful because they are a great place for our students to work, to study and get the help and technology they need to succeed in their coursework.

“You’re going to see that on steroids over at Centennial Campus.”

The Hunt Library will feature an automated book retrieval system – saving valuable space normally consumed by book “stacks” – as well as sophisticated spaces for student and faculty collaboration and the latest in learning and computer technologies.

“This building will mark the beginning of a new era in learning and collaboration on campus,” said Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of libraries at NC State. “We’re absolutely thrilled that the university is going to have one of the finest academic and research libraries anywhere in the world.”

In addition, Hunt Library will house the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI), a public-policy “think-and-do” tank that brings together leaders from businesses, non-profit organizations, government and higher education to tackle some of the biggest issues facing North Carolina’s future growth and prosperity.

“Each year, participation in our programs increases as well as the demand for additional services,” said Anita Brown-Graham, director of the IEI. “With limited office space and no meeting facilities, IEI has been limited in the events and programs that it can host here at NC State.

“When the Hunt Library opens, IEI will not only have the space it needs to expand its programs, but the interactive gallery will allow people to use many of the innovations here on campus to fuel conversation and policy change.”

The library is named for Hunt, who served four terms as North Carolina’s governor and is a two-time graduate of NC State, earning his B.S. in agricultural education in 1955 and his M.S. in agricultural economics in 1959. Hunt also played a pivotal role in the development of Centennial Campus through the allocation of 365 acres to NC State in 1984 during his second term, and was also instrumental in the creation of the IEI.