A good library is difficult to come by. A good library with an extensive selection of books and records is even more difficult to come by. However, if you want to find a good library with an extensive catalog and records collection as well as a stellar staff who wants to connect with and serve everyone who walks through the doors, Dewitt Learning Commons meets all the marks. Known simply as the LC to students, this library serves as a study space, a coffee hangout, a place of academic records and a home to rentable equipment.
The LC was built in 2013. It’s current building houses three departments: the LC, Academic Support Services and the Audiovisual Department. Its current location is the third in the history of this LC. In 1894, around the time of the college being established, the LC was in Zwemer Hall. Over a half a century later in 1963, the LC moved into Ramaker, where it was housed until 2013. The LC was then moved into a newly built structure, which is the current place for the ever-growing catalog of books, records and archives at NW.
The LC also offers refreshments at the coffee shop, Common Grounds. They have a selection of lattes, frappes and tea.However, coffee isn’t the only thing offered at the LC. Over this school year, the LC staff are expanding their outreach with six different events spread throughout the year, including the occasional “Drinks @ DeWitt.” The first installment of this event took place on September 9 with several flavored lemonades, such as peach, strawberry, raspberry and lavender. Following fall break, the second installment of this event will take place with hot cider.
Along with “Drinks @ DeWitt,” a long-standing tradition of the LC has been to provide three days of snacks and beverages to students during finals week. However, last year, they adapted to COVID restrictions and provided coloring sheets, playdough and crafts for students to take a study break. Sara Huyser, the Outreach and Engagement Specialist, has spent over six years at the LC and is particularly excited about the new outreach attempts the LC is implementing this year.
“Our outreach events enable the staff at the LC to get to know our students in a fun and personal way,” Huyser said.
In addition to providing study breaks, rentable equipment is available at the circulation desk. When the weather is pleasant, students can be seen touting the rentable bikes around town. Single and tandem bikes are stored outside the LC, and with the scan of a student ID, students can check out a bike for a few hours. New this year are rentable hammocks. Located on the campus green is a hammock structure, students can suspend either their personal or rented hammocks. Bikes and hammocks can be rented for free at any time of day.
The LC also has several displays that are about different topics and are placed sporadically throughout the LC. Currently, there are four displays in total throughout the building. The lower-level has one that showcases items from the archives about NW’s extra-curricular activities, the second floor holds one showcasing items from the LC Christian Education collection and the first floor houses the last two: alumni authors and Korean pottery.
Overall, the LC is designed to be a warm and inviting place for students, whether they are studying or catching up with friends over coffee. Alexandra Dobesh, a student worker at the LC, is one of many who has a second home in the LC.
“I love the chairs tucked between the bookcases in the quiet zones. It’s peaceful and quiet, and I’m surrounded by one of my favorite things – books,” Dobesh said.