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Bird Library raises money for the installation of additional outlets

One of the biggest complaints Syracuse University Libraries officials hear about Bird Library relates to its lack of outlets. A fundraising campaign is more than halfway to its goal of changing that.

The Bird Plug-In Project aims to improve the study space of the first two floors in the library by installing additional outlets, said Ron Thiele, assistant dean for advancement for SU Libraries. The campaign, which is run through ‘CuseFunder, has raised $1,302.61 of its $2,500 goal, as of Monday. The fundraising effort is a collaboration between SU Libraries and the Student Philanthropy Council.

Come fall semester, as a result of the campaign, Bird Library will have dozens of additional outlets for students to charge their phones, computers and tablets.

A box, which will feature three regular outlets and two USB ports, was designed and will be better able to serve the approximately 1.3 million people who walk through Bird’s doors per year, Thiele said. The new boxes will be installed before the end of summer, he added.

In addition to the basement, students find that the main floor also lacks accessible outlets. The individual study cubicles on either side of the first floor do not have outlets and only the wall outlets service those desks.

“I wish there (were) more outlets in the tables downstairs,” said Khianna Calica, a sophomore television, radio and film major. “I think a lot of people don’t come to Bird for that reason.”

The Student Philanthropy Council’s role in the project is an important one for Thiele.

“What’s exciting here is that we’re working with students to help make those changes,” he said.

Ivan Robles, chair of the Student Philanthropy Council, said the campaign is targeted toward students, as the library is a place they can see their contributions actually manifested.

Robles said the ‘CuseFunder campaign encourages donations of all sizes. The ‘CuseFunder campaign has 27 backers as of Monday, with 18 days left in the campaign.

The effort is part of a broader vision to rejuvenate the bottom two floors of Bird Library. Thiele said new furniture, carpeting and a reference desk were other recent additions to the library, as were the individual and collaborative study areas.

Thiele said since Bird Library opened before the Schine Student Center, it acted for a long time as a “de facto student center,” where students would gather socially, then disperse to study. When it opened in 1970, it was not equipped for the massive amounts of people and technology that occupy it today, Thiele said.

“We all want the best experience for our students, and this is one of those things that enhances the student experience,” Thiele said. “It’s a huge resource for applying the things that are assigned and learned in the classroom.”

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