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New year, new Jack Tarver

A poster shows the floor plan of the renovated Jack Tarver Library.
A poster shows the floor plan of the renovated Jack Tarver Library.

It looks like students and faculty are not the only ones with New Year resolutions. Jack Tarver Library will be undergoing changes of its own this semester.

The library, named after the Mercer alumnus and esteemed journalist, will be renovated over the coming months. Students can expect all kinds of changes that will benefit both their work and comfort for years to come.

The renovation project is called “Spiff Up the T” and is taking place solely on the second floor. Made possible by an anonymous $400,000 donation, the library will be getting all new furniture, increased wifi and power sources throughout the second floor.

Jack Tarver Library was dedicated to Jackson Williams Tarver in 2000 and still has much of the same furniture from when it originally opened according to Research Services Librarian Stephanie Miranda.

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“It’s pretty dated in here,” Miranda said. “The building was technically opened in 1989, and these are the only tables that have been in here.”

New couches and lounge chairs will be moved in and spread throughout the library’s second floor. The furniture will have powered outlets so that library goers can charge devices while they study and work. Also included in the furniture purchases are tabled high back and low back booths similar to what are seen in restaurants. They will be placed directly by the windows.

A group study area will be implemented towards the back of the library. Both high top and low top tables are being brought in with power boxes that will double as charging stations. A serpentine style lounge couch will be placed right behind the “Ask Jack” reception desk and diagonal seating with banquette style couches will follow.

The library will be getting a boost in wifi capabilities as well. Connectivity and speed will noticeably increase and should be completed around Jan. 26.

“I mean you need that, you know? It’s necessary in order to do your work now,” Miranda said.

Tarver Library will also install new power cores in seven spaces on the floor throughout the library to complement the new wifi capabilities. Desktop computers are currently spaced out throughout the second floor but are expected to move to a central location near the stairs. Students will have new rolling chairs with mesh backing at those stations.

The IT department will also have a new home. They’ll be placed towards the back of the library where the research materials are currently located.  

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While this is certainly the first major furniture renovation since Tarver opened, the library has made several improvements over a number of years. New carpet was brought in and the library walls received new coats of paint in 2009 and 2010, and Einstein Bros. Bagels shop was installed on the bottom level in 2015.

This will be the last major change under the current Dean of University Libraries, Elizabeth Hammond. Hammond has been in charge of the library for 40 years and announced her impending retirement at the conclusion of the year.

“We are always looking for how to make the library a better space for students, and the Spiff Up the T project is a very exciting project,” Hammond said. “We anticipate the new furniture will be installed in early March, hopefully over spring break.”

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