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PSU Libs Open Knowledge Commons

A project that first got underway nearly two years ago reached its greatest milestone to date this week when the full Knowledge Commons was opened for general student usage.

The Knowledge Commons, which we have reported on twice before, was an $8.5 million University Libraries project that renovated nearly the entire first floor of Pattee and Paterno Library. The Foster Auditorium in the Paterno Library has been open for a couple of semesters now, but the largest changes were unveiled this week in the older Pattee Library.

What was once occupied by the Reserve Reading Room has been replaced by an expansive set of designed learning spaces meant to promote digital literary and content creation skills. Check out the diagram of the space to the right.

The Knowledge Commons will house classes as well as numerous group study areas, including some that look more out of a start-up than a class building. With lots of soft seating and plenty of open tables, it’s designed for a laptop and table equipped generation; however, despite the focus on mobile computing, there are still hundreds of lab computers spread throughout the libraries. The Knowledge Commons has a higher proportion of large screen monitors than most other labs, and it is also now headquarters to an even greater number of Penn State’s Media Commons team.

The Knowledge Commons is a very welcome addition to University Park’s biggest libraries. The emphasis on how students actually use technology, as opposed to simply moving ahead with the practices that had worked in the past, has resulted in an environment that’s very comfortable for daily use. As Joe Paterno put it, “You can’t have a great university without a great library.”

Have you checked out the Knowledge Commons yet? Let us know in the comments, or tweet @OnwardState and @PSULibs with your thoughts.

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About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.


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