Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 21, 2024

Learning Commons opens doors

By ELI WALLACH | September 13, 2012

The  Brody Learning Commons officially opened on Thursday, Sept. 6, merely a few days into the fall semester. The new, glass-walled extension of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library has created an inescapable presence on the Homewood campus.

Named after the 13th President of Johns Hopkins University, William R. Brody, and his wife, Wendy, the Brody Learning Commons is a 42,000 square-foot multifunctional space for students and faculty alike.

The Brody Learning Commons primarily helps alleviate the over-crowding of the library by adding over 500 new seats, 16 group-study rooms, a quiet reading room, and six teaching and seminar rooms.

Come time for midterms and finals, this added space will undoubtedly be put to use, because of its myriad of high-tech features.

“This state-of-the-art facility is designed to meet the needs of not only today’s scholars, but the needs of those from generations to come,” Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of Libraries and Museums, said.

From the natural lighting to the  comfortable seats, the Brody Learning Commons is an ideal place to get work done. The walls of the group study room are made of idea-paint, which allow it to double function as a white-board and projector screen.

Scattered throughout are TeamSpots, screens that allow for students on multiple individual laptops or tablets to work-together on one screen. You can find rooms with interactive projectors and pens to save the work you do on the board onto your computer.

There are rooms with LifeCam cameras and Skype capabilities so that groups can work together from different locations, and rooms with recording capabilities perfect for practicing speeches or presentations. There is also an interactive visualization wall that uses your body’s motion to perform tasks and play games.

Cafe Q, which was on the first floor of the library has shifted to the Brody Learning Commons and is now run by the Daily Grind. The Mark Dion art exhibit is also on display in the quiet reading room.

One person putting the new building to use is Leah Barresi, a Sophomore, whose father worked as a graphic designer of the building.

“It is much more pleasant than the library,” Barresi said, “I can actually see the outside world.”

Students in the Brody Learning Commons had no shortage of praise for the Brody Learning Commons.

“I was just expecting an addition to the library,” Sophomore Arie Grunberg said.

“It makes me want to study!” Freshman Neuroscience major Laura Grau said.

“People are more happy studying here, it lightens the morale of the students,” Grau also added.

Although the construction of the building required the expertise of many professionals, the planning was greatly directed by students and faculty. Starting as early as 2009, planners of the Brody Learning Commons began to poll the students and faculty of Johns Hopkins.

The most popular requests  of students and faculty included more natural light, a reading room, a variety of comfortable seating types, more cafes, group study spaces, and Internet that works.

Furthermore, the design for the group-study room came from Diane Hwang, class of 2012, who was a Sophomore Neuroscience major when she came up with the idea that won her a design contest and inspired a major component of the Brody Learning Commons.

The Brody Learning Commons has become a daily study spot for many students. Whether you want to get your work done or quietly lounge and enjoy the ambience, the Brody Learning Commons has something for everyone, and is a great addition to the Homewood Campus.

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