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May 19, 2008
By Jill Stockton
Friday marked a significant milestone for the new Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center and the University’s library services. The move from Getchell Library and the Life and Health Sciences Library to the Knowledge Center officially began at 5 p.m. Friday, May 16. Getchell was closed Saturday, May 17 through Monday, May 19 to accommodate the first phase of the move: consolidation of basic, core library services to Getchell’s main floor.
The entire move will take approximately two months and will be completed in orchestrated phases over the summer months. To prepare for the move, many of the libraries' collections and resources will not be available. Books, journals and multimedia will be available only by request. Computer access for students will be available on a limited basis.
Beginning Tuesday, May 20, basic services — such as circulation, reference and computing help, and document delivery — will be provided on the main floor of Getchell. Access to the library will be available solely through the entrance on the main floor.
The 295,000-square-foot, five-story Knowledge Center, located just south of the Joe Crowley Student Union, will open Aug. 11, 2008. It will go far beyond the traditional library role of housing information. Twice the size of Getchell, it will allow the campus community to generate new information and transform it into new innovation.
“Libraries are old institutions established when information was scarce,” said Steve Zink, University dean of libraries and vice president of information technology. “Information is no longer scarce and members of the ‘net generation’ are not only consuming information, but they are also producing it as well.”
Knowledge Center officials understand the need to leverage students’ collaborative skills, and look forward to helping them use these skills while preparing to join the workforce.
“To the extraordinary benefit of the campus community, we will be able to take care of all of their needs in one place,” Zink said. “The Knowledge Center is the physical incarnation of a virtual organization. As the campus community takes advantage of what the Knowledge Center offers, the University will continue to produce the high-end workforce the state needs.
“Information can be generated by a computer, but knowledge is distinctly human,” Zink said. “This is also represented by having Chuck Mathewson’s name on the building. He started IGT (International Game Technology) and positioned it to compete by using new knowledge, innovative graphics and electronics to outperform its competition. It is my goal that the Knowledge Center will provide the campus community with the same opportunity.”
Roughly 15 years ago the University combined library and information technology services into one unit.
“Combining library, IT and instructional technology services is quite unusual,” Zink said. “The university was ahead of the curve, and what this represents is successful synergies and improved service to our customers.”
With the opening of the Knowledge Center, library services at Getchell will end. The future use of the building — the University’s library since 1962 — is undetermined, although options are being actively considered.
Noble Getchell, a Nevada mining tycoon and Lander County state senator, was the namesake for Getchell Library. David Vhay Sr., son-in-law of Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of both the campus’ Mackay Statue and Mt. Rushmore, ran the Reno architectural firm that designed the library.