State-of-the-art furniture installed on SKCTC Cumberland campus

Students on the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College are benefiting from state-of-the-art furniture installed in the library in recent months. Designed to create a relaxed, yet active learning environment, the furniture was made possible by a $40,000 grant from the Robert E. Frazier Foundation. This charitable organization based in the Tri-City area of Harlan County awards monies biannually to community education and enhancement initiatives.

SKCTC Library Director Lynn Cox says she hopes the new furniture will make the library known as the “center for interactive learning” on campus. She adds that the upgrade is in keeping with modernization trends in libraries across the nation.

“There is a notion that libraries have become as outdated as the rotary phone and the typewriter,” Cox says. “The SKCTC campus library is actively pushing back against that perception.”

The new tables and chairs have casters and can be reconfigured in several different ways allow creative collaboration among students. “Whether it’s a group study project that requires a moveable whiteboard paired with a booth space, or enclosed, soft seating for prolonged study, I hope the students enjoy these enhancements to the library,” says Cox.

According to Kathy Ditty, director of the Academic Support Center, the educationally-conducive furniture has created a comfortable center within the library called the “Learning Commons.” This area aids students in their library research, tutoring, and advising.

“The furniture is designed to empower learners and to promote group interaction and collaborative learning. We’re seeing that happen every day here,” says Ditty, whose office is in the library.

The library’s upgrade is the first since the 1980s. While the new design offers a welcome visual change, it is ultimately about “so much more than furniture,” says Dr. Michelle Dykes-Anderson, vice president of advancement. “It’s about creating spaces students want to stay in, about lifting people’s spirits by showing them that they have access to a state-of-the-art facility, and about bringing people together.”

SKCTC President Dr. Vic Adams expressed his gratitude to the Robert. E. Frazier Foundation for funding the much-needed improvement. “The Frazier Foundation has helped the college and our Tri-City communities in so many ways throughout the years,” says Adams. “We appreciate the organization’s continued support of our number one resource, our students.”