Spotlight: RPI Folsom Library

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The Rensselaer Research Libraries, comprised of the Folsom Library and the Architecture Library, provide the university community with information resources and services in support of both teaching and research missions. Collaboration with the Cole Library, located in Hartford, Connecticut, further enhances library support on both campuses. Rensselaer was one of the founding members of the very successful Connect NY consortium whose members share rapid courier access to a combined online catalog of their book collections.

The 2005 renewal of the main floor of the Folsom Library represents its first major refurbishment since its opening in 1976. “Information hubs” disguise concrete columns and integrate physical and virtual space while offering high speed research access. Academic and social interactions are fostered in an attractive environment with newly opened vistas to the beautiful surroundings.

The “sails” art wall behind the Circulation Desk consists of an inverted Hobo-Dyer Equal Area projection map of the world featuring Rensselaer’s theme “Why not change the world?” repeated in many of the campus community’s languages. Designed by Jorge Vidal (Rensselaer class of ’91), the project has won recognition in two areas. It was named an Outstanding Project in the Educational Interiors Showcase competition by American School & University and the Library Café was featured in Fresh Cup Magazine, a trade publication for the beverage industry.

In keeping with its technological history, the application of technology to improve services and to preserve and provide access to collections is central to the Libraries’ mission. Wireless internet connectivity is available throughout the Folsom and Architecture Libraries to Rensselaer students who are all equipped with notebook computers. A project to collect and preserve electronic theses and dissertations has been implemented. Finally, the Institute Archives and Special Collections group recently rolled out an online Institute Images and Publications Database.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. Located in Troy, New York, the university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences.

Bob Mayo


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