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Posted 10.01.04

New Information Commons Brings Wide Array of Research Sources To Students

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Students at the University of Missouri-Columbia now have a new space in Ellis Library to access the most powerful print and online research sources available, thanks to the new James B. Nutter Sr. Family Information Commons. The renovated portion of the library's reference section, space uniquely designed to enhance academic achievement, is a result of a $1 million gift from James B. Nutter Sr., a prominent Kansas City businessman. In addition to the research sources, the new design provides students with a vast array of software tools and expert guidance necessary to propel them into the information age of the 21st century.

"Libraries have traditionally served as a source of information, whether in books and journals, or in new digital media," said Jim Cogswell, director of the MU Libraries. "We find that today's students want more than information. They want spaces where they can work with one another in small groups, to share information and ideas in a secure, comfortable, and motivating learning environment."

The 25,000 square feet of library space features 103 computers arranged in 75 workstations, 24 café seats and four express stations. The space also features study areas divided off by frosted glass-paneled walls bearing the names of such influential individuals as George Washington Carver, Joseph Pulitzer and Samuel L. Clemens. Lounge seats are clustered beneath ornate wooden beams resembling tree branches. The facility also provides high-speed Internet access, e-mail, wireless laptop access, and laser printing and scanning services in one location. Staff members from both MU Libraries and Information & Access Technology Services are present to assist students in their pursuit of knowledge.

"We have created within the library a learning environment on par with classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls elsewhere on campus," Cogswell said. "This is a space where collaborative learning takes place, where active minds share ideas and explore new outlooks, and where information becomes knowledge."

The facility is named after James B. Nutter Sr., founder and former chief executive of James B. Nutter & Co., one of the nation's largest privately owned mortgage banking firms. Nutter Sr. credits his father, Frank Clark Nutter, for instilling in him the value of libraries. In turn, Nutter Sr. donated an additional $250,000 for a book endowment to honor his father. The endowment will provide the library with materials from prominent American authors as well as Irish author James Joyce.


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