The Lone Star College-Kingwood library has officially opened after being closed for roughly 22 months when Hurricane Harvey flooded the building.
Now, with a fresh new face, the library is open for business with more features than before. Kaleigh VonDerVor, the director of academic success, who oversees the library, says the library is the “new face of what libraries should be.”
“We wanted power and data all over the place,” VonDerVor said.
Hurricane Harvey devastated the library. The water reached three feet, destroying books and computers. The computers, and other items, were bought back, but not in the same brand.
“There were things that were outdated, and wouldn’t make sense to bring back,” VonDerVor said. “When you buy back, you buy back kind of the gold standard version of that.”
After the library was cleaned out, a 22-month process began. Librarians were pushed out of their comfort zone and had to communicate with contractors in order to reestablish the library.
Aside from picking out the expected materials such as paint and fabric, the librarians also had to decide the more tedious details, such as the height of the outlets so the furniture wouldn’t block them.
They also had to break down the designs of the furniture and decide what type of legs should go on each chair, and what type of frame each piece needs.
“I think we were all surprised at the level of detail we needed to get into,” VonDerVor said.
Hurricane Harvey’s damage totaled $1.98 million in books, furniture, and other materials. VonDerVor said the majority of the build back funds came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Before Hurricane Harvey, the library was dark and outdated: aside from being repainted, no major renovations had ever been made since its initial opening. The carpet was the same since installation.
The library offers more services and equipment than before. Those things include:
- two computer labs, each holding forty computers, six Macs, 29 HP’s,
- two study cubicles for students to bring their laptops and plug them into flat screen TV’s.
- kick start scanners, that sends the materials right to your email.
- laptop vending machine. Students swipe their student ID’s and are able to check out a laptop for up to four hours.
- a one-button studio, which is a room for students to record presentations for their classes. This is halfway finished and will be available by the fall 2020 semester.
After walking through the tall glass doors, students immediately see a whirlwind of refreshing colors.
The walls in the tutoring area are an aqua blue color. Students can also see, as they look around the left-hand corner, bright yellow walls that span from a bank of Mac computers to the back wall.
The Media Scapes are lime green inside, which matches the four booths that stand in a row next to them.
In front of the Media Scapes are bright yellow chairs, which sits next to the individual Brody Chairs, matching the aqua blue walls.
Nicholas Spain, who is taking summer classes at LSC-Kingwood, said when he studied in the library for the first time since its opening.
“Wow, a lot of computers and places to sit,” he said as he walked in.
First-time student Micheal Walterssaid the library is the best place to study because it isn’t like your typical library.
“It is cooler than the Kingwood Library, more hip,” said Walters.
Math and English tutoring are now offered in the library at select times. Once signing in at the from desks, students can sit down in the tutoring space, with either their laptop or a desktop, and receive help on assignments.
Oscar Villalobos has been a tutor with LSC-Kingwood for two years. He started tutoring the summer before Hurricane Harvey.
“It was a lot of craziness going on,” Villalobos said.
He said moving back into the library was an exciting time. He believes the library is the “go-to” place for tutoring because of all the accommodations they meet. The tutoring space includes two long whiteboards, six desks with individual whiteboards on the end of them, and two portable whiteboards.
“It is very student friendly,” Villalobos said.