Library Renovates with Student Needs in Mind

UALR students asked for a more modern Ottenheimer Library and they received, gaining several new enhancements such as interactive media tables to improve group learning experiences.

The library, built in 1976, recently completed extensive renovations to make the five-story space more user-friendly and technology-oriented. The upgrades include many items that were on students’ wish lists last spring, such as more electrical outlets, open areas with soft seating, vending machines, and media tables.

ottenheimerThe second floor has been transformed to reflect those wishes. The new, expanded space was designed with group study in mind, with the five Agati Elements Media Tables as its centerpiece. Each table comes equipped with a flat-screen television and four laptop connections so that users can share screen content.

The other study tables have new seating all around, while food and drink vending machines provide quick snack options for students. A wall also was torn down to allow more sunlight into the area. In addition to the main study area on the second floor, the designated quiet floor on the fourth level includes 16 single study rooms.

“We have undergone major changes since we opened,” said Dean Wanda Dole. “The one thing that has remained the same is our goal – to provide our students and faculty with information they need to excel. How we provide it, however, has changed dramatically. We now provide access to an increasing number of online content repositories, so our faculty and students have access to resources that in the past would have only been available at larger universities.”

The push for more technology includes moving more reference materials online, freeing up room to make the library a more usable space for interaction, research, and studying.

Dole said the library is keeping an eye toward the future while still preserving the history. The library contains more than 659,000 print volumes, 32,000 electronic books, and almost 40,000 electronic journals. It also houses an extensive archives collection.

The library has led the way in technological advances. Users can “text a librarian” for reference help and even browse the mobile catalog on the UALR Mobile app for iPhone and Android.

UALR provided the funds for the interior improvements. The Ottenheimer Brothers Foundation pledged $250,000 for exterior improvements, which included washing the building, landscaping, and putting up better lighted signage.

The Ottenheimer Library will celebrate its progress Thursday, April 4, at the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center. Tickets are $50 per person, $30 of which is tax-deductible. To purchase tickets, contact Suzanne Martin at or 501-569-8805.

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