After years of construction and labor work, Grambling State’s digital library will open this March. In 2019, Grambling State revealed designs for the new digital library on campus.
The project was the first of its kind, with Grambling being the first HBCU with a digital library. Some of the details include more than 500 student computers, more than 50,000 square feet of space, and room for more than 200 thousand physical resources.
The fast-moving digital library project began in 2017 when President Rick Gallot petitioned for the closure and support to replace GSU’s existing facility, the A.C. Lewis Memorial Library, which was constructed in 1962. Gallot, alumni, faculty, and ULS leadership collaborated with students quickly to garner funding and commitments to make a new facility a reality.
“We have furniture being delivered now and we’re getting very close to the end,” Gallot said. “We’re tentatively looking at early March as the grand opening, of course with the pandemic the supply chain is a huge challenge.”
For many students, it is an exciting time for them. Senior Eryn Fant is among the students that is joyful about the opening of the library.
“I believe that it’s a big achievement for the school,” Fant said. “It’s something that the school needed, and I’m excited for the opening of the library. I’ve always wanted another safe space where education was first and I could read at, this new library is that for me.”
Junior Caitlyn Smith believes the new and improved library will be a benefit to her fellow peers. “It feels refreshing having a new library. I feel like it’s going to be another study spot for students.”
With student excitement, there are also concerns with COVID restrictions. Junior Kam Bousley is among the group worried about the group who is concerned.
“I love that we are having a beautiful library, but I do have questions about the restrictions COVID brings with the times of the library.”
“The beautiful thing about it being a digital library, it technically does not close, with you being able to access it around the clock,” Gallot said. “So much of students’ research is done now online. The digital version of the library will be available around the clock.”
“When you look at us as an institution, we have invested heavily into technology. There are many examples even with our campus WiFi and student housing, we are giving the best technology to our students at their fingertips. So, with the library, we will be giving more of that to the student body.”
The Grambling digital library is also ensuring students will have the best help around them. Grambling is partnering with Skilltype to help modernize development at the institution. “They bring conferences to us, and they bring the training to us,” said Adrienne C. Webber, the Dean of the Digital Library. “It is self-paced for the employees.”
Grambling’s library employees will gain personalized learning plans to help improve internal mobility as the institution continues expanding its services to meet the standard.
On-demand training, presentations, and professional development will be available to staff members for the first time. This will help improve the equity at GSU while also creating diversity within the training.