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Club Belk still going strong after 10 years

Carol Grotnes Belk Library, Belk or Club Belk: whatever it’s called, Elon’s library is one of the most popular spots on campus.

For 10 years, Belk has served graduates, undergraduates and community members with stacks of books, piles of DVDs and mounds of CDs. The week of Feb. 8-13 will celebrate the 10-year life of Elon’s academic heart.

Where other colleges have several undergraduate libraries and specific libraries for graduates, Elon’s library is a gathering space for the entire campus.

“We want the library to be a kind of academic student center,” said  Kate Hickey, Dean and University Librarian. “Elon prides itself on community.”

But, like all buildings, Belk will need to be renovated and updated in the near future. Trying to squeeze into one of the study rooms on a Sunday afternoon is testament to how popular, and crowded, Belk is.

In the new 10-year plan, Belk will get an expansion of an unknown square footage within the next five to 10 years.

“It’s remarkable that it still works as well as it does,” Hickey said.

She said a lot of the success of Belk has to do with how much emphasis the university places on keeping technology updated. Every three years, Belk gets a complete technological overhaul.

Technology could spell disaster for a traditional paper-and-binding library. Despite the access to thousands of e-journals and the prevalence of the Internet as a search tool, “Book circulation has risen every year we’ve been in this building,” Hickey said.

Patrick Rudd, coordinator of library access services, also points to technology as a positive when it comes to getting students information quickly.

“Students and faculty can access Belk Library collections from anywhere in the world with the growing quantity of material available online,” Rudd said.

He also said that while the library will increase its collection of physical books, it will also focus on expanding the online collection.

Since its inception, Belk has undergone only minor changes, like the doubling of space for the Writing Center. “It’s the 10th anniversary of something that lasted,” Hickey said. “It was ahead of its time.”



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