When Elmhurst University decided to renovate their Learning Center library, their team of academic and administrative leaders understood that the purpose of a modern library goes far beyond books. They wanted to transform the Learning Center into a social, educational space where students could hang out, study, and feel immersed in campus culture. Elmhurst partnered with Momentum, and together they came up with a purpose-driven design concept that transformed the library into an experiential space that expresses the school’s identity and provides students with an environment that is useful and engaging.
The biggest transformation is in the atmosphere of the Learning Center. One large area of stacks was removed and replaced with a sitting areas with brighter, more natural lighting, open glass walls, and carpet features the school’s colors. The Learning Center became an art gallery, with reconfigured and added walls providing a canvas for showcasing art. This brighter, more comfortable atmosphere fills the entire building, and even the staircases were updated with bright lighting, new walls, and artwork.
The sitting area now provides both study and social areas, with tables and board games. The once barebones college-library coffee counter is now a full service coffee shop, nourishing students with espresso, snacks, and cold drinks. The result is a welcoming “third place,” offering the best of both library and coffee shop experiences. Along with the multi-purpose areas, there are also new tutoring and testing rooms as well as a modern computer lab.
The result is that the focus of this building has transformed from a place to store and check out materials to a place where students can actively engage with library services, study, and socialize. It’s a bright and welcoming space that is both a resource for current students as well as a showcase of Elmhurst University’s commitment to modern education for prospective students.