Construction to begin on medical library

Innovative models of educa- tion are driving the creation of a new space for UVM students studying medicine.


Construction on a new Learning Commons within the Dana Medical Library will begin in October, combining the latest in classroom and education technology, Marianne Burke, director of the Dana Medical Library, said.


“It is a learning neighborhood,” Burke said.


The project, geared toward propelling medicine, nursing and health science students toward increased academic success, will include learning commons areas and services for students and faculty, she said.


The space will include classrooms, the technology center and a library with extended group study spaces.


The Learning Commons is part of a larger Larner Learning Center, funded as a part of a $19 million donation by Robert Larner, an alumnus of UVM.


The gift was the largest in UVM’s history, according to an April 15 Cynic article.


The renovation will cost $2 million, according to the UVM board of trustees May 2016 meeting minutes.


Mia Salgado, a senior in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said she is excited for the renovations.


“I believe that group study spaces are always a bonus; how- ever, I feel like it may drive more students to use that library,” Salgado said.


The library can be crowded at times, she said.


“Historically, the medical school students do not like that undergraduate students occupy the same space; I wonder how the dynamics of undergraduate vs. medical students will change,” Salgado said.


The change is a product of two huge shifts in information and education worldviews, Burke said, the first in educational models and the second in technology.


New models in education show students learn more when they learn from each other, she said.


The classrooms, developed for team-based learning, host group tables instead of lecture rows and a “bring your own device” rule, rather than fixed computers on desks, to better facilitate mobility and discussion, Burke said.


Additionally, technology has allowed for the vast majority of journal subscriptions held by the Dana Medical Library to be read online, she said. As of right now, the library has 50 in-print journals and 5,000 online journals.


The library is in the process of going digital, Burke said.


“We’ve reduced our [environmental] footprint by reducing [the number of] print articles,” she said.


Some older journal copies now located in the Dana Medical Center Library will be moved to alternate locations, Burke said.