Libraries Celebrate Opening of Chemistry Information Commons!

February 11, 2022

It’s all about chemistry! After years of planning, the opening of the new Chemistry Building brings with it the opening of the Chemistry Information Commons in January. The opening of the new space marks a long-awaited moment of celebration after years of anticipation. 

The new space consists of two sections managed by the UW-Madison Libraries: the Information Commons and Classroom 2401, taking up the entire second floor of the Chemistry Building. The updated spaces boast several amenities critical to ensuring users have the best experiences and resources available, including: 

  • Five 4-person and one 10-person study rooms 
  • Three 10-person study rooms – All study rooms have large monitors with laptop connectors
  • Office space for the Chemistry Librarian 
  • Office hoteling space for any library staff!
  • A small collection of non-circulating chemistry reference books 
  • Black and white printing
  • 4 LTG computer stations (require NetID login)

Classroom 2401:

  • 36-seat flexible classroom with movable tables, chairs, and speaker podium
  • Two projectors, document camera, laptop hookup
  • Plenty of power outlet access 
  • Three glass walls overlooking the building atrium and the corner of Mills and University

The Information Commons isn’t a traditionally staffed library service point. There is no circulating collection, book return, hold shelf, or course reserves. However, the presence of librarian expertise was a key point the Chemistry Department wanted to maintain. Chemistry Librarian Ariel Andrea served as a critical collaboration partner with the department throughout the renovation process. 

“It was made clear that the presence of a librarian was a priority for the department, and for the Libraries as well,” explains Andrea. “Offering subject-specific information expertise within a comfortable, user-focused space is really the dream for me as a librarian!” 

The renovation required significant planning for the Libraries. In preparation for the Chemistry Building Project, the former Chemistry Library closed in December of 2016. While the library space was closed during the renovation, its services were relocated. 

“We needed to ensure the students and faculty in the Chemistry Department still had the Libraries’ support,” says Andrea. “With a lot of planning, creativity, and flexibility, I believe we were successfully able to navigate this years’ long project. It’s very exciting to finally have this new space, and I know students and staff are going to love it.” 

Ariel Andrea

The Chemistry Information Commons will have an additional resource to benefit its users: the Chemistry Information Skills Enhancement and Resources Fund. Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, this endowed fund primarily focuses on developing and enhancing the information literacy skills of chemistry students and staff as well as improving the accessibility of that information.  While formats for information may change, the need to find, understand, and apply this information will always be a constant for researchers and students.

As information and new knowledge are constantly created, delivered, and consumed online, the opening of the Chemistry Information Commons presented an outstanding opportunity to re-envision how the Libraries advance the work of faculty, staff, and students in Chemistry into the future.

The Information Commons has public hours that coincide with Chemistry Building hours, and the space is available only to Chemistry Department staff and students after hours via Wiscard access. Visit the Chemistry Information Commons site or reach out to Chemistry Librarian Ariel Andrea for more information.