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New Research Commons at 18th Avenue Library creates haven for researchers on campus

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Visitors gathering in the gallery area of the Research Commons, located on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library, during the location’s opening event on Jan. 26. Credit: Michael Huson | Campus Editor

Visitors gathering in the gallery area of the Research Commons, located on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library, during the location’s opening event on Jan. 26. Credit: Michael Huson | Campus Editor

The Research Commons at 18th Avenue Library opened its doors for the first time Tuesday, offering a central hub of information and technology for researchers in the renovated third floor of the 18th Avenue Library.

An open house event launched the opening of the space, which has been under construction since August.

Offering many types of technology, tools and resources, the space is primarily meant to help those conducting research, said Joshua Sadvari, Research Commons program manager and geographic information-systems specialist.

“The primary target audience for the Research Commons is graduate students, post-docs, faculty and upper-level undergraduates who are doing research projects,” Sadvari said. “We have a variety of different spaces and technologies in the space to target those particular groups.”

Those spaces within the Research Commons include conference rooms equipped with video-conference technology, a research-computer lab and a room dedicated to brainstorming.

The Brainstorming Room features an interactive table that can be used to project information from tablets and computers onto large white boards, allowing the information to be annotated with digital and physical markers.

Also in the space is a gallery area with television screens, which will be able to showcase information on current research projects, Sadvari said.

“(The screens will allow) researchers to connect with each other without having to be in the same room,” he said.

All of these rooms are available for reservation upon request, both online and with iPads located outside each room.

Sadvari said the main inspiration for the space was flexibility, providing many different kinds of spaces but also using furniture that can be easily moved and adapted to fit the different needs of the researchers.

Visitors gathering in the gallery area of the Research Commons, located on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library, during the location’s opening event on Jan. 26. Credit: Michael Huson | Campus Editor

Visitors gathering in the gallery area of the Research Commons, located on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library, during the location’s opening event on Jan. 26. Credit: Michael Huson | Campus Editor

Carol Diedrichs, vice provost and director of University Libraries, had a hand in the creation of the Research Commons and said there was a need for a space where researchers can collaborate.  

“It’s the whole, what we call the ‘research lifecycle,’” Diedrichs said. “From conceiving your idea all the way through getting your idea and your work published.”

Potential consumers of the new space gathered at the open house Tuesday to learn about the new technologies the Research Commons has to offer.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a professor of clinical nursing, said she sees a need for a place like this on campus.

“I put in a proposal for a HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) Grant with Columbus State Community College and if we had a space like this, it would have been so nice for the planning and conceptualization of the grant,” Fitzgerald said.

Savardi said the Research Commons will also host workshops to aid researchers and that consultants will be available for appointment from the Copyright Resources Center, the Data Management Services Librarian and the Writing Center.

The first workshop, Strategies for Writing a Successful Abstract, is set to be held Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Previously a study space for undergraduates, the Research Commons will be geared toward research during business hours. But because the library is open 24 hours, Savardi said that undergraduate students are welcome to use it as a study space on nights and weekends.

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