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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh administrators, faculty, staff and students marked the remodeling and modernization of Polk Library’s first-floor study and research space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 16.

Chancellor Richard H. Wells, Provost Al Hartman, Polk Library Director Patrick Wilkinson and student Angie Verhaalen, a former Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) senator who initially sparked interest in the project, thanked University administration and the OSA for support of Polk 101.

Formerly called the reference room, Polk 101 is designed to be a place where students can access information, get help from staff and create projects. Upgrades included bigger workstations, a 40-inch LCD screen for announcements and comfortable furniture and lamps.

“Polk 101 is designed for how students use a modern library,” Wilkinson said. “The room’s popularity was immediate. September saw more than a 25 percent increase in traffic into the library from the same time last year. From all reports, students stay longer and collaborate more.”

University Archivist Joshua Ranger said that Polk 101 meets the research needs of the current faculty and student body, which have changed dramatically since the old reference room was built in the 1960s.

“Today’s students and faculty require access to scores of subscription-based databases of articles, books and images. Researchers need a modern and technology-rich environment to synthesize these sources and develop their projects,” Ranger said.