With support from the UVA Parents Fund, staff from the UVA Library’s Teaching and Learning team will create a new outreach space in Clemons that will focus on student art and multimedia work, boost the library’s popular reading collection, and promote the Robertson Media Center (RMC), located on the third floor. To be named “Gallery 4 at Clemons Library,” the student-centered area will be a flexible space located near the main floor entrance of the library, and will feature comfortable seating, shelving, display cases, adjustable lighting, and multimedia technology. The project will be funded in full through a $5900 grant from the Parents Fund.
Grant applicants Haley Gillilan and Josh Thorud hope the redesign will help keep undergraduate students connected with Library spaces during the pandemic and beyond. Gillilan, Undergraduate Student Success Librarian, and Thorud, the Multimedia Teaching and Learning Librarian in the RMC, expect Gallery 4 to greatly impact a broad range of undergraduate student library users, describing it as “an intuitive, attractive space [that] will welcome users and encourage them to engage with the library and library resources,” and noting that it will welcome not only regular Clemons users, but also those new to the University and those displaced from their regular study spaces, as many other buildings and libraries on Grounds have remained closed due to COVID-19.
Gallery 4 is also envisioned as a place for community — boosting upcoming events and new technology and featuring student-created art and interactive, rotating displays and exhibitions built in collaboration with the Library and others. Gillilan and Thorud also hope that the welcoming nature of the space will attract users who sometimes experience anxiety in more traditional library spaces:
A space that boosts popular, leisure, and underrepresented collections will familiarize students with important library resources and make students who might not otherwise feel represented in the library feel welcome and invited. Displaying student art and work will create a sense of ownership of library space and make students aware of what has been created in the Robertson Media Center and what is possible for them as scholars and makers.
The grant to design Gallery 4 at Clemons Library is the latest in a long history of support from the UVA Parents Fund. For more than 30 years, the Parents Fund has enhanced and enriched the UVA student experience by supporting parent engagement and the student affairs office, and by administering grants that support services, programs, and projects directly connected to undergraduate life at UVA. In recent years, the Parents Fund has purchased equipment and funded a student cohort in 3D and virtual reality at the Library; enabled the Library to equip group study rooms and classrooms with digital calendar display panels; and funded the refurbishing of furniture in the McGregor Room and the entrance hall of UVA’s main library.
Stay tuned for more, as Gillilan and Thorud expect the work on Gallery 4 to begin this summer, in anticipation of the space opening for the fall 2021 semester.