Lovely new “learning commons” at UWM Golda Meir Library

Back in the 1960s, the UWM library was something to brag about. For not only was it the first entirely air conditioned building on campus, it was at the time one of the few fully carpeted libraries in the country. [Emphasis added.] But the new digs in the west wing of the library are something to behold. The Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons has “increased seating space from 120 places to 400 on the first floor,” and has almost 200 computers scattered around, including a good number of lovely iMac (20″ 2 GHz) public kiosks, several dozen desktop PCs, and 50 laptops for students to check out.

According to UWM’s information about this space, “A Learning Commons which will accommodate collaborative and group learning styles… New group study rooms as well as flexible study areas with the latest technology to accommodate team-based assignments… Learning Café to provide a welcoming environment for students and faculty.”

It’s simply a really cool space. However, aside from the librarians, there’s only one Help Desk Consultant staffing the whole place right now, which could be me at some point in this semester. (Assuming I can escape the business department computer lab.) Heck, I just helped a nice old man while I was sitting here writing this. Goes to show you that the open design of the “Learning Commons” may play out well.

You just have to be careful to log out from all open accounts on the public web kiosks.

In closing I must say that your $1.75M gift has gone to very good use, Mr. Soref. Judging by the number of shiny new chairs, the Estate of Herman Miller would like to thank your estate.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.