Student Feedback in Action: Hodges Library Graduate Commons Expanding
June 20, 2023
Graduate Commons, Hodges Library
Graduate Commons, 131 Hodges Library

The Graduate Commons is expanding! The Graduate Commons on the first floor of Hodges Library will more than double in size. The new space opens on June 20.

The Graduate Commons, 131 Hodges Library, will expand into an adjacent area formerly used as office space. Expansion into room 130 will add two large group study rooms, two smaller group study rooms, and a large open area furnished with library tables. No new technology or other amenities will be added to room 130 at this time.

The commons, which opened in 2019, was created in response to feedback received in focus groups and surveys of graduate students. Further conversations with graduate students prompted the current expansion, as well.

Graduate students’ study habits and technology needs differ from those of undergraduates. Library staff heard from grad students that they often spend extended periods working on dissertations or analyzing data, that they need comfortable study spaces and powerful computers. So, the Libraries created a dedicated space that supports their unique needs.

The original Graduate Commons in 131 Hodges Library features computers with powerful processors, dual monitors, and specialized software; ergonomic chairs; adjustable-height desks; and lounge areas with sofas. The original space includes one large conference room for meeting or practicing formal academic presentations, as well as three small rooms for working in smaller groups. A bank of lockers allows busy scholars to leave books and personal items in the commons while they come and go for breaks.

The commons is reserved exclusively for use by graduate students. Grad students on tight schedules, who may be juggling research and writing with teaching and family obligations, need not compete with undergraduates for seating or computing resources.

The commons also met an expressed desire for a space where graduate students — who often feel siloed in their own disciplines — can interact with fellow grad students outside their own departments.

Graduate students just need to swipe their VolCards at the entrances to rooms 130 and 131 to gain access.