Thursday, October 31, 2013

Library Learning Commons

by Jodi Amato, CIA Learning Support Center Manager

Hundreds of balloons, soared above the Hilton Library on opening day of the brand new Learning Commons.

What a celebration it was — and continues to be.

Throngs of students, faculty and the ever-expanding CIA family of financial aid consultants, special needs advisers, career guidance counselors and tutors filled the central space to joyful capacity.  Some fifty visitors at a time found seats around the small tables. They admired the dozens of new computer stations or gathered together to sample the coffee, cookies and mountains of handmade chocolates. Some adventurers explored the other quiet study rooms and two intimate conference centers that are situated beyond the main room. And small groups curled up on the comfortable couches and easy chairs with the expansive views of the library’s gardens. They gather here in this lovely place to chat with old friends and meet and greet new ones.

The heartbeat of the Learning Commons hums with its welcoming atmosphere.  Tutors are here to offer help and guidance with every class and every situation. Tutors are selected not only on the basis of the acquired knowledge and top grades they have earned themselves but perhaps even more importantly, for their “likeability.” These peer advisers are patient and understanding because they have themselves lived the “experience” of difficult classes and (mostly) mastered many of their own anxieties. They fully understand the challenges of schedules that change frequently and empathize with the unique challenges faced by the many international students.

Everyone is welcomed to The Library Learning Commons. All day and late into the evening. 

Students are reminded of that old maxim:  “If you don’t ask for what you want, the chances of getting it are pretty close to zero.”

We don’t have all the answers but we, the tutors, most certainly make our very best effort to explore the questions.

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