Ceremony to Celebrate Library Transformation is April 21



Library Intern Elyse McDaniel stands behind the new check out desk in the transformed

Dorothy W. Hightower Collaborative Learning Center and Library

The transformation of the Hightower Library on the campus of Gordon State College into the Dorothy W. Hightower Collaborative Learning Center and Library is, according to one student, "amazing."

A ribbon cutting to celebrate the transformation and grand re-opening will be held Thursday, April 21 at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

For several months the building, originally built in 1978, has undergone a renovation that, while not adding more to the building's 35,000 square-feet, opened up its floor plan. Now, instead of shelf after shelf of books and study carrels, students can check out books, study in one of the many group or individual study areas, top off a project in a presentation practice room or use one of the many computers that will be available. There are also classrooms for up to 60 students, study tables with a surface that supports the use of dry-erase markers, and many areas for quiet study time. The entrance of the library contains study space that can be used after hours.

"It is just a much better use of the space," said Sonya Gaither, director of library services and professor of library science. "And while books are still the foundation of the Center, a strong emphasis was put on student learning with the renovation."

While about 30,000 volumes will still be available for checkout in the renovated Center, the remainder will be housed in Guillebeau Hall. Guillebeau Hall is also the site of the Archives Reading Room as well as many items from Gordon's 164-year history. A touch of campus history will be on display at the check-out desk with editions of Taps, yearbooks from Gordon's days as a military school, on display.

The Collaborative Learning Center and Library was named after the late Dorothy Hightower of Thomaston, wife of former Foundation Board of Trustees President George Hightower Sr. who died in 2002. George Hightower served as the Foundation Board of Trustees President for 15 years before retiring in 1990. Their son George Jr., currently serves on the Board and served as president from 2009 to 2011.

Ben Joiner, a history major and student assistant in the Center, is amazed by the natural light the renovation now allows.

"Before it was so dark and seemed so small," Joiner said. "Now it is just amazing. Everyone on campus will enjoy using everything this building offers."