BCSSW Unveils Revamped Social Work Library

The School of Social Work’s library received a significant upgrade this past summer, when Boston College invested substantial resources to building a gleaming, innovative space for its students.

Library staffers conducted several focus groups and student surveys ahead of the redesign, in order to ensure the new space was best suited to the school’s most important stakeholders. Boston-based architectural firm Dimella Shaffer won a competition to then integrate this feedback into the ultimate design that would become the new library.

“The library redesign was a labor of love for the many of us involved in the project,” says Head Librarian Hannah Ha. “We worked hard to integrate the perspective of our students in our plans, and we are confident we’ve created the best possible space for both collaborative and individual study and work.”

The library space was designed to flow based on noise level: from most collaborative sections near the entrance, to quiet areas near the back of the building. Its sweeping entrance space and shiny welcome desk invoke modern sophistication.

Features of the new library include:

  • Two new group study rooms, with smart televisions, writable walls, 6 laptop connections, and Skype video conferencing
  • A new computer lab for all BC students, with both Dell and Mac computers, a standing scanner, and printers
  • A social work only computer lab with 16 computers, and new privacy screens delineating separate workspace
  • 24 study carrels, each boasting more space per person than in the previous iteration of the library
  • New comfortable chairs throughout
  • A cell phone charging station
  • Two reservable conference rooms (for both students and faculty) with smart TV/ Skype technology

Initial response to the library upgrades has been positive, across the board.

“It is clear that much thought went into the design of the new social work library,” says Associate Professor Susan Tohn, “and that the students are reaping the benefits of the new collaborative and private study spaces.”

library4“The fact that the BCSSW library is the only social work library in New England was a major factor in my choosing the MSW program at BC,” adds current student Jessica Low.  “The library is very convenient in that it allows students to access social work resources easily and to work with librarians who are familiar with the subject matter, classes, and assignments, without even leaving the building.

“There’s also a social aspect to the Social Work Library. Students run into each other here, and end up discussing the curriculum, comparing notes on field education, and sharing resources. The new design in particular promotes a sense of community outside the classroom that is both productive and creative.”

Visit the library in the basement of McGuinn Hall.

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