Library Ribbon Cutting

From Library to Learning Hub

Stony Brook Foundation Contributes $1 Million to Renovate Melville Library

At more than two million volumes, the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library stands today as the largest academic research library on Long Island. A recent $3 million modernization of the North and Central Reading Rooms has transformed the Library into a centralized, interdisciplinary learning environment: a model for the 21st century university campus.

“Student academic success today depends on meaningful collaborations,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “These renovations turn our Library into a dynamic space that promotes both independent and collaborative learning by maximizing our seating capacity, creating spaces for intimate groups and installing state-of-the-art technology wholly accessible to the Library’s 2.2 million annual visitors.”

The revamped rooms now offer high-tech study suites featuring the latest technologies, 100-plus computers, increased WiFi access and about 2,000 seats specially designed for comfort, study and socialization. The costs of the renovations were offset thanks to a $1 million gift from the Stony Brook Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization that advances the goals and strategic plan of the University. In recognition for their gift, the North and Central Reading Rooms will be known as the “Stony Brook Foundation Knowledge Commons.”

“The Foundation Board shared President Stanley’s vision to create a centralized learning hub that would further enhance the campus,” said Dexter Bailey, executive director of the Foundation and senior vice president of University Advancement. “This is another example of how the Campaign for Stony Brook and private philanthropy continues to help support the University’s mission and strategy.”

Representing Stony Brook’s 17,000 students, Undergraduate Student Government President Cole Lee is thrilled with the new Stony Brook Foundation Knowledge Commons. “It was very well thought out,” he said. “Each aspect of the space — the meeting rooms, the furniture selected — was all intended to foster the collaboration, comfort and quiet that students need,” he continued. “There is no limit to what we can do with this space, thanks to the Stony Brook Foundation and the President.”

The north room features a 30-seat flexible learning lab; 12 technology-enabled collaboration rooms that students can reserve online; ergonomic seating for individual and group study; optimized lighting and acoustics to enhance focus and learning; and a one-stop service desk that assists students, faculty and staff with library services and functions.

The central room is designed to be a community gathering place within the library. It features an event space that can accommodate up to 100 people, a reading nook with magazines and newspapers, two classrooms and group study suites equipped with collaborative technologies.

The Stony Brook Foundation Knowledge Commons also provides more conspicuous seating for Library faculty and staff, making them more accessible and available to help visitors.

“We consulted with library users, acoustic experts, design experts and others to develop a modern approach to create more functional open space areas to address technology needs,” said Constantia Constantinou, dean of University Libraries. “The renovation project has created a dynamic and new 21st-century library organization that reflects the Stony Brook University mission of academic excellence, positioning our library as the hub of collaboration, digital innovation and scholarly endeavors.”

By Jordan Chapman