The Emmanuel College Learning Commons offers a resource and technology-rich environment where you can discover, create, innovate, explore, study and reflect. Our team of caring professionals offers the expertise and support to help you learn and grow.

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Learning Commons | Cardinal Cushing Library

Our Future Learning Commons

A learning commons is
"a full-service learning, research, and project space." (read more)
Project Overview
  • Simplifying access to services that support learning at Emmanuel;
  • Providing optimal study and collaboration space, along with tools and materials to facilitate learning and exploration;
  • Increasing academic-oriented programming that complements classroom learning.

Key facts:
This transformation will include both:
renovations within the existing building and expansion of our services.
  • Books and other print materials will continue to be purchased and available, along with our extensive online collections.
  • Easy access to all existing services (including Reference) are essential to our vision. 
  • Both collaborative and quiet study space will be increased.
  • No additions/alterations to the building's exterior are planned at this time.
  • Major work will be scheduled to occur in summer or breaks when classes are not in session.
Share Your Vision: Survey
Please fill out this short survey to tell us what's important to you as we plan the Learning Commons.
Library Reading Room during Renovation  Library Reading Room during Renovations  Library Reading Room During Renovations
Project Status
We will update this page periodically as we plan our transition to a Learning Commons model in the Library. 

Fall 2017: Completion of Phase I Renovations
The completion of Phase I is scheduled for late October.  Further changes for this fall will include:
  • Replacing Reading Room tables with custom hardwood tables;
  • Tables will include built-in power outlets and task lighting;
  • Adding new Reference Collection shelving;
  • Adding art display space in Reading Room;
  • Offering new design and creativity tools for student use;
  • Offering basic Helpdesk services at Library front desk;  
  • A new schedule of programming, including movies, book talks and more!
Summer 2017: Renovations to Physical Space, Phase I
The focus of phase I was refurbishing the Reading Room of the Library.  During the summer, we made
the following changes and updates:
  • Culling outdated and underused materials from collection;
  • Removing all books from first floor stacks;
  • Consolidating collections on second floor;
  • Demolishing first floor shelving;
  • Adding dozens of power outlets throughout the Reading Room;
  • Repairing and refinishing the first floor study carrels;
  • Repairing and refinishing the first floor wood paneling;
  • Re-carpeting the first floor of the Reading Room;
  • Removing faculty office cubicles from Reading Room;
  • Creating seven transitional group study spaces under mezzanine;
  • Moving computer stations and printers under mezzanine area;
  • Beginning cross-training of IT and Library student workers.
  Winter 2016-2017 
  • Community Information Sessions were held in December and February; 
  • An overview of the Learning Commons project was presented to the Emmanuel College Board of Trustees in late January.  The Learning Commons received a generous gift from a trustee;
  • "Share Your Vision" Survey had over 250 responses, and closed February 14; 
  • Focus groups of faculty and students were held to gather additional information;
  • Architects continued to work with Library and other Emmanuel College staff to gather information about the existing building and our goals;
  • A plan for culling outdated materials from collection was developed;
  • A Rubi coffee station and café tables were installed in March;
  • Programming was added to enhance Emmanuel student’s academic experience, including Strategic Learning Week, featuring a “Human Chess” match; a Book Talk series, with talks from three Emmanuel authors; and a Poetry Café;
  • Over a dozen furniture samples were made available for testing in the Library in April/May; 
  • Students were surveyed on their furniture preferences.

Last updated: 6/1/2017
Learning Commons Looks
  • This page offers some visual ideas to help you see possibilities and options - including identifying features that you may not like to see here. 
  • Emmanuel's Learning Commons will be different - these pictures are to help spark your imagination.

admin352    BPL study area
Glass Wall   Study Area
study room   Technology Room