University of Delaware
Jane Wessel, graduate student in English, and Alexander Ames, graduate student in history, in the Graduate Student Research Room of the Morris Library

Official ribbon cutting

Graduate Student Research Room opens in Morris Library

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3:10 p.m., April 27, 2016--The University of Delaware Library marked the opening of the Graduate Student Research Room 125A in the Morris Library with a special event on Thursday evening, April 14.

The normally quiet study space on the first floor of Morris Library was abuzz as close to 40 graduate students, librarians and administrators celebrated the grand opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Ann Ardis, senior vice provost of Graduate and Professional Education, Mary Martin, associate vice provost of Graduate and Professional Education, Sandra Millard, interim vice provost and director of libraries, University of Delaware Library, and Joseph Brodie, president of the UD Graduate Student Government. 

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The Graduate Student Research Room is located just inside the newly renovated Reading Room and has been open since the start of the spring semester. The room is accessible via card access, meaning that UD graduate students tap their UD ONEcard on the reader to the left of the door to gain entry.

“Graduate students are very important to the University and to the Library. The Library felt it was a priority to direct space and funding to this project, and worked collaboratively with Graduate Student Government to create this important new space,” said Millard. 

“This room is fantastic,” said Matthew Rinkevich, parliamentarian of the Graduate Student Government. “My colleagues and I use it often and work in writing groups.” 

Martin said that she is very pleased with the “dedicated space for graduate students where they know they can work among graduate scholars.”

The Library repurposed Reserve staff office space for the new room. The renovation involved new carpet, paint and a variety of furniture to meet the needs of the students. The Graduate Student Research Room has seats for 32 graduate students, with a mix of furniture: tables, counter space and wing back lounge chairs. 

The Library worked closely with the Graduate Student Government to inform the design of the space and the choice of furniture. For example, Graduate Student Government mentioned that it would be nice to have materials from Library Special Collections on the walls, and there are now framed prints from the collection of local Delaware theatre posters.

One of the other walls in the space is an original Library foyer wall, from before the 1986 Library renovation, and is covered with sculptured 15th- and 16th-century printers’ marks. Printers’ marks were the trademarks of the early printing industry and were used much as publisher’s devices are used today: to decorate a page and to identify the printing or publishing establishment that produced a particular work.

Ardis thanked the Library staff for allowing Graduate Student Government representative to be involved in the planning process and noted, “the decision to preserve the printers’ marks on what used to be the external wall of the Morris Library is a nice tribute not just to the history of this particular building but to the history of libraries and scholarly communication technologies.”

“It’s great that the Library is willing to devote specific resources to graduate students. This demonstrates the Library’s commitment to and recognition of the different study habits and needs of graduate students,” said Brodie. 

Photos of the event can be found on Facebook

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