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Looking Young Again

CAPS center

By Kassy Cho and James Barragan

October 12, 2011, 1:01 am

Isaac Arjonilla

A student works in one of the desks of the Special Collections area.

Isaac Arjonilla

A student uses one of the quick lookup computers in the main corridor of YRL.

Isaac Arjonilla

One of the new concepts of YRL is “enviromental branding”, where the students will associate YRL with the new images and logos that have been placed throughout the library.

Isaac Arjonilla

Cafe 451 is a new addition to ASUCLA’s line of restaurants, their focus is mainly on coffee and small lunch items.

The chatter of lively students walking in and out the front entrance and the aroma of coffee permeate the air of the new Charles E. Young Research Library.

The newly renovated first floor of the library, which opened just in time for the start of the academic school year, has attracted a new crowd to YRL.

The ground level now features a reading room, research commons, private study rooms, and several conference rooms, which UCLA tour guides show off on the newly added stop to their tour.

After his first visit to the library this year, first-year international development studies student Donagahan Kim said he now prefers it over Powell Library as a study space.

Another first-time visitor, Andrea Bortnik, a graduate student in public health, called the design “modern and posh.”

“My friend who invited me to come study here said it’s the place to come study now,” Bortnik said.

She said the mixture of new technology and furniture in the library attract more people who previously did not study there.

The design of the library combines a traditional reading room and a collaborative digital research commons, said Susan Parker, deputy university librarian at UCLA and one of the project managers for the renovation.

The reading room, which was previously indistinguishable from the rest of the library, is now a separate room with books and references, providing a space for students to study, Parker said.

Twin lounges with brown couches face each other on each end of a spacious hallway and names of fields in the humanities and social sciences run up a ticker, a digital display by the stairs.

From wall paintings to HD and digital touch screens that allow the user to look up frequently asked information, other aspects of the library enhance the fact you are in YRL, Parker said.

The new research commons in the library is furnished with futuristic white booths that seat four students on colorful seats of orange, green and turquoise. Presentation screens at each booth allow students to work together, Parker said.

Bortnik said these study booths are her favorite part of the library because of the ability for students to collaborate with others in a group.

The library also houses the newest Associated Students UCLA venture, Cafe 451, where students can interact with each other.

One of the goals of the renovation was to get people to spend more time at YRL, Parker said.

“(YRL) used to be a place that people would go, do what they had to do and not so much hang around,” Parker said.

With Cafe 451, students can stay in the library all day and have a place to meet others, including faculty members, Parker said.

Because most of the books she needed were at YRL, Deena Dulgerian, a fourth-year history student, often studied at YRL.

But it wasn’t her favorite place.

“There were no electrical outputs,” she said. “And it was depressing.”

Sitting in a booth in the research commons, Dulgerian said she was pleasantly surprised on her first visit to the library since its renovation.

Antony Gout, a third-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student, was a YRL regular before its renovation.

Gout said he studies there because of the quiet atmosphere that used to characterize the library, something he felt he couldn’t find at other libraries like Powell.

“There’s just fewer people there and for studying that’s just a lot less of a distraction,” Gout said.

On the upper-level floors, traces of the library Gout described remain. Busy students work at desks cluttered with stacks of books, research papers and laptops. Copies of books like “A Corpus of Roman Engraved Gemstones from British Sites” lie abandoned, no doubt by a researcher too busy to reshelve them.

Gout said that in the past, people didn’t appreciate the library as much. The renovation will attract more students to discover YRL as a resource, he said.

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Kassy Cho
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