Member Spotlight: The Dobbs Ferry Campus Learning Commons at Mercy College

Mercy College, with support from a $4 million Title V Grant award, underwent a major renovation and transformation of its main library at Dobbs Ferry into a Learning Commons in 2009.

Under the direction of Mustafa Sakarya, Acting Director, and Tesse Santoro, Head Librarian, the new bright, open and expanded facility houses the library, learning center, and the Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning and Online Learning. Ceiling-high windows open onto a spectacular view of the Hudson, making the library a favorite stopping place for prospective students on tours of the campus. A library café takes full advantage of the dramatic view.

The library has almost one hundred desktops, both PC and MACS, that are used by students to perform research through the library's expanded web site, as well as a circulating collection of thirty laptops for in-library use. Scholarship takes place in collaborative work spaces, private carrels, group study rooms as well as a designated Quiet Zone on the second floor. Other amenities include an art gallery that features the work of accomplished local artists and faculty.


The Dobbs Ferry Library's collections were also modernized during this transition. Gone are the bound serials, microfilms and out of date non-core books. The library's collection focus is now on access, as opposed to acquisition - just in time, not just in case. The library subscribes to over fifty-five databases, with additional electronic journal subscriptions linked to search results - all to enhance students' library experience and research success.

The library recently launched a patron-driven acquisition collection entitled EBL. Over thirty thousand e-books are now available to students across all Mercy College campuses. Public service has also changed. Reference has become mobile. Dobbs Ferry librarians armed with iPads go out into the library to assist students. Reference statistics are on the rise due to this change.

Librarians are actively involved in an ongoing instruction initiative; each year, over one hundred sessions reach thousands of students. To track learning outcomes of Mercy College students throughout their school career, the library has recently developed a direct assessment program linked to ACRL's competencies for information literacy.

With thousands of students visiting the Dobbs Ferry Library each day, this go-to location on campus is lively - but always productive! Mercy College also has libraries on campus in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Yorktown Heights.

Future plans include the addition of multimedia workstations to build on a successful digital storytelling and ePortfolio initiative. The Dobbs Ferry Library is committed to training students to become lifelong learners and digitally sophisticated adults who will excel in their chosen careers in the future.

This spotlight was written by Tesse Santoro, Head Librarian at Dobbs Ferry Library, with input and photography courtesy of Mustafa Sakarya, Acting Director at Dobbs Ferry Library.

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