Dean of Barnard Library and Academic Information Services Jennifer Green presented an overview of the Milstein Center, which opened on time and on budget last Tuesday, at the first Student Government Association meeting Monday night.
Green, who has spearheaded the organization of the Milstein Center since March 2017, said that she and her colleagues welcome feedback from the Barnard community as the center moves past its opening days and works to “iron out” issues that arose last week, such as shortages of toner and paper.
“I’m super excited about what we have created,” Green said. “This is a new, modern facility that is really going to empower you to fulfill the promise of the Foundations curriculum.”
Green was joined by Director of Collection Strategy and Library Operations Kristen Hogan, as well as Design and Technologies Librarian Jennifer Brown. Hogan described the new lending library for first-generation low-income students, preexisting collections in the library like the BIPOC Alum Collection of materials by people of color and the Zine Library, and the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, which store records of the college from its founding to the present day.
Brown discussed the Design Center, a makerspace focused on teaching design concepts to undergraduates, which will be stocked with a variety of tools, ranging from sewing machines to 3D printers to power tools. Students will have to attend an orientation prior to using the space.
She said that the Center is intentionally structured to be welcoming for students of all backgrounds. “If you’ve been to any other sort of makerspace, they have histories of marginalization and oppression, they have histories that we don’t want to repeat, so we’re being conscious about the programs we create, who works in this space, and the choices that we make,” she said.
Hogan also addressed questions from SGA members about the security of the Milstein Center, explaining that Public Safety will carry out regular walkthroughs and that students will have to swipe into the collection areas. She added that students will have to swipe out of elevator-accessed spaces on the third and fourth floors when using these spaces after-hours or on the weekends.
Brown said that the Design Center will likely open to local middle and high schools next summer. She added that the security system of the library, which allows people to enter on the first floor without swiping and will provide guest passes to allow entrance to other spaces, will help make this a reality.
“The way the building is designed, you don’t have to swipe in to get to the first floor, so [working with local students] is actually really feasible for us,” Brown said.