Student Success Commons and Library
A new multi-use facility in the heart of campus
As part of its strategic vision, Albright College is committed to developing and strengthening community partnerships and is excited to contribute to a vibrant vision for the future of Reading and Berks County. The new multi-use facility will foster community partnerships through expanded educational and cultural opportunities. Universal design elements throughout the building ensure a fully accessible space for campus and community members of all abilities.
Led by President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82, an Albright team has been working since 2019 to re-imagine a 21st century library that immerses learning in collaboration, mixes traditional media with emergent media and includes the wider community in educational and cultural initiatives.
This multi-functional space will include a learning commons and café on the plaza level and combine key student success initiatives such as tutoring, the academic learning center, research assistance, academic coaches, accessibility services and career development, all in one location.
Construction is now underway on Albright’s long anticipated Student Success Commons & Library! Get an inside view of the project and read “Albright breaks ground on Student Success Commons and Library” on the Albright News Hub.
Working alongside Project Manager Brad King, members of Cabinet, the facilities team, architects, Andy Samuelsen (biology), David Tanner (arts) and others to help assess tree removal and the placement of outdoor sculptures near the SSC&L construction site — trees right up against the building (mostly Sweetgums), were removed due to their location. Several other trees were also be removed due to issues involving their roots and sanitary lines, firetruck access around the building, and the need for retention basins (i.e. rain gardens) to allow proper water infiltration.
Based on these parameters, nine large trees were removed, including two very large Copper Beeches on the 13th street side. Fortunately, we still have a healthy Copper Beech specimen near the Center for Computing and Mathematics. And we have made certain that the Tulip Tree – our only specimen on main campus – will be spared, along with two swamp white oaks. These are all native trees. Construction plans for the SSC&L include new landscape plantings and rain gardens to enhance the beauty of the grounds in the center of campus.
The plaza level will be a vibrant core for students and the community, supporting students from high school through college and as alumni. The plaza level includes the Admissions welcome center, coffee shop, Joyce Academic Learning Center, Falcone Student Success Center, Total Experience Learning® Early Career Academy and the offices of Accessibility and Advocacy and Career and Experiential Learning.
This 21st-century library is a center for academic study and research, where students and the wider community take advantage of varied learning spaces from technology-enriched collaborative group rooms to open spaces for engagement, collaboration and learning. A glass-walled reading room offers a quiet reflective study area, while opportunities abound for serendipitous discovery with both traditional and 24/7 virtual information resources.
Alongside the writing center and faculty offices, study and meeting spaces are designed with multiple, flexible configurations and built-in technology and tools for digital scholarship. New 24-hour accessible spaces and an impressive, glass-side view of campus were added to the design in spring 2023. The third level includes the Patty Parker Molnar ’69 Center for Writing Excellence, the Curtin Family Conference Center and our English Department faculty.
A history and cultural center on the fourth level will house our history department and invite campus and community members to explore the library’s collaborative collections. In collaboration with the Jewish Federation since 1993, the Lakin Holocaust Library and Resource Center includes 2,600 volumes, taped interviews with survivors and liberators, and much more on the rise of Nazi Germany, World War II and the Holocaust. The fourth level will also house Albright’s Black Cultural Collection and Resource Center where more than 4,000 items can be accessed or on display. The collection, which is being cataloged by Albright faculty and students, includes books, photographs, art, archival materials, and more. Also prominently featured will be the Griffiths History and Cultural Center, Nolan Local History Collection, Schultz History Department Suite and the Albright archives.
The lower level of the Student Success Commons and Library will include the Thomas A. Chaves ’85 and Terry Lynn Clopper Media Classroom, a testing center and vital group study rooms.
A 21st century library
A 21st-century college education demands a 21st century library that immerses learning in collaboration, mixes traditional materials with new media, and supplements student initiative with expert support.
Albright’s Student Success Commons and Library will be the cornerstone of Reading’s Innovation Corridor and a national model for the 21st century library.
Integrating the college and the community, the space will bring together teachers, scholars and learners and support entrepreneurs and science and technology research.
The current library has served students, faculty, and community members since 1964. Since then, the college’s undergraduate population has nearly doubled, resources have changed radically with the rise of audiovisual materials and new media and studying and learning have evolved to keep pace with technological enhancements and pedagogical modifications.
A new Student Success Commons and Library will give Albright an inviting and comfortable learning environment designed to bring together students, faculty, skilled professionals, information resources, high-end technology resources and student support services. It will support nationally-recognized academic programs and expand educational and cultural enrichment opportunities for Reading city and Berks County residents.