Dr. Gibson’s Speech »

Welcome invited guests, board of trustee members, elected officials, members of the press, faculty, staff and friends of Essex County College.

It is not every day that we have such a distinguished group of officials visiting our campus. But, by having the Governor Chris Christie, the Secretary of the Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, and the Mayor of Newark Luis Quintana.

We have an audience rich in diversity and resources that represents the shared space we are celebrating.

Today, we will kick-off the conversion of our Library to the Martin Luther King Jr. Information Commons. This $6.7 million renovation is made possible by the 2012 New Jersey “Building Our Future” Bond Act……… from which Essex County College was awarded more than $19 million.

That represents the most of any two-year state institution. And we appreciate and are excited about what it means for us!

The Information Commons will be a transformative space for our students. It aligns with our 5-year strategic plan and it is part of a blueprint to further enhance teaching and learning at Essex County College.

Imagine this scenario with me for a moment: Today a student comes into the library, gets a book, looks up a resource, sits in a cubicle, usually alone, and studies or gathers research material for a paper. That’s a pretty typical or traditional use of our library.

However, in about 18 months when we open our Information Commons it will be transformed into a space that provides a seamless academic environment. Where students may access, manage, and produce information and have services, resources, staff and the appropriate technological cross training – all at the same workstation.

Here’s more of what the students and faculty can expect.

The Information Commons Library will consist of:

• 145 state-of-the-art computers

• Labs to offer image scanners, color printers, presentation and spreadsheet tools with the latest software

• Wireless Internet access – and plug in stations

• Multimedia production capabilities to blend technology and research needs

• 4 SMART classrooms to provide easier access to writing papers, manipulating data, or developing presentations

• A redesigned eco-friendly open space lounge with a waterfall wall and a “green” wall to absorb sound

• Individual Skype workstations to encourage informal meetings and global connections

• Several Multi-purpose rooms for collaboration and small group interactions

• Faculty resources will be available to develop new cutting edge curricular material.

I’m sure you have heard the new buzz phrase: “the Internet of Everything”… this Commons will be the Information of Everything…

I make this statement because our Information Commons is not just resources, but it will be a wonderful space to build relationships among students, library information systems professionals, multi media experts, the technologically curious, curriculum developers and the community.

We see this as a catalyst to promote retention and increase graduation rates because the joy of learning will be so well reflected in this environment.

It will contribute to the developing culture of innovation, creativity and scholarship that will impact the good of Newark, New Jersey and the world!

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