Academics and Research / News

Penrose Library staff planning for transition

When Theresa Hernandez started working at DU’s Penrose Library eight years ago, she was an executive assistant. Today, she’s a key player helping to lead the biggest project the library has undergone since it was built — the Academic Commons.

As the assistant director of Penrose Library, Hernandez’s job is to make sure a re-design and re-building of the library happens without any interruption in service.

“Our mission is to make sure we can serve the University community non-stop,” Hernandez says. “We think about that in every decision we make.”

Hernandez says in order to wrap her head around the project she broke it down into four areas: moving the collection, moving services, moving people and renovating the library.

“Each one has its own implications and every little detail to consider,” she says.

For instance, the collection will be moved temporarily to the Hampden Center during the renovation. But, because the project team wants to ensure no interruption in service, they selected a moving company willing to retrieve books that might be requested even while the moving trucks are in route.

“We’re committed to this and take it seriously,” she says. So seriously, she says, she asked DU’s Human Resources team to conduct change management seminars. The workshops are designed to help Penrose employees cope with the dramatic change they’ll experience over the summer when construction begins. For instance, one day staffers will report to Aspen Hall instead of Penrose.

“Many of our employees have worked in Penrose their entire careers; it’ll be a big change to suddenly come into work one day somewhere else,” Hernandez says.

If all goes according to plan, everything will be removed from Penrose Library by July 15. While the building project is underway, all services — including the Writing Center, Math Center, UTS, References, Circulation and printers — will be in the Driscoll Ballroom. The ballroom and surrounding areas in Driscoll will have space for student study areas, computer labs, a café and book drops. It’ll be the place everyone picks up any items, books and other materials they’ve requested. The hope is that it’ll all return to the new Penrose by December 2012.

“This is a huge opportunity — a once in a career opportunity,” Hernandez says. “It’s a team effort and it’s an honor to say I’m getting to be a part of it.”

For ongoing news and updates about the Academic Commons at Penrose Library building project, visit the website.

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