Phase one of New Kensington Knowledge Commons: Quiet Study Lounge

A new study area has opened on the lower level of the Elisabeth S. Blissell Library at Penn State New Kensington. The Quiet Study Lounge, located adjacent to the Computer Center, provides individual study space for campus students.

“The impetus for creating the lounge was a groundswell of student comments about the lack of quiet study space on campus,” said Jennifer Gilley, head librarian for Blissell Library. “As group studying becomes more pervasive, communal areas like the main library space and the lounge outside the theater are often not quiet enough for individual study.”

The study lounge, which opened in February, is equipped with armchairs, study carrels, and round tables. There are no computers in the room as the neighboring computer center can handle the exigencies of research and scholarly activity. The room has wireless coverage so laptops are allowed in the area. The lounge’s hours mirror those of the library – 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The building is closed on Saturday.

“With the introduction of the Quiet Study Lounge, we have seamlessly connected the library and computer center spaces,” said Jim Rounce, director of information technology at the campus. “The space will be ideal for individuals that are looking for a quiet space to read or study.”

The opening of the lounge completes the first phase of Knowledge Commons, a University-wide concept that includes developing spaces for students to work together, access technology, get help, and work individually. Knowledge Commons at the New Kensington campus refers to the Blissell building, which houses both the library and the computer center. The project is a collaboration between the campus and University Libraries, which oversees the Penn State’s library system.

“Knowledge Commons is intended as a reconceptualization of the library and computer center as one student-centered facility where a student can get help with their academic assignments,” said Gilley, who co-chaired the Knowledge Commons committee with Rounce. “Today's class assignments frequently involve both the finding of information and the presentation of information in a multimedia format, and professionals from the library, computer center, and Media Commons are all located in one place to help with those projects.”

Media Commons is a University-wide initiative to provide a variety of services to help students, faculty and staff produce and publish multimedia projects. The studio is equipped with an HD camera, studio lighting, green screen, and microphones, and can be utilized for video or audio productions. Consultants, training opportunities and audio/video production facilities are available to beginners as well as advanced users. Editing stations, featuring the new iMac computer, are located in the library and the computer center, as well as in the main Media Commons room on the lower level of the Conference Center.

For more about Media Commons, visit

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For more about Information Technology at the campus, visit

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Last Updated March 13, 2013