By Trish Nguyen, Staff Writer –
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the UTC Library celebrated its fifth year open with a birthday party fit for a five-year-old child on the first floor of the library.
This birthday party is the first that was thrown for the library since its grand opening in 2015.
A task force has been brainstorming ideas for the party and planning the event since Nov. of 2019, said Dean of the UTC Library Theresa Liedtka.
“Students love the library,” Liedtka said. “Our student approval rating is in the high 90%, in terms of the physical space and the attitude of the staff being helpful. It’s a space that people feel comfortable in. They kind of find their own zones, so we just thought it would be fun to celebrate and have a party.”
The library staff showed their commitment to the five-year-old theme by setting up balloons, a table with coloring pages and crayons, giving out party blowers and sending out campus invites with the library wearing a birthday hat!
The party was complete with games like hot wheels racing, cornhole and jigsaw puzzles along with a cupcake decorating station, a button making station and a story-time circle with a librarian.
Freshmen Dayson Hoffman and two friends were completing a jigsaw puzzle of a picture of the south side of the library.
“We stumbled upon [the party] actually,” Hoffman said. “We went to Starbucks and just happened to walk through and saw that all this magic was happening.”
The library also held a contest leading up to the celebration. Five golden tickets were hidden on each floor of the library, and each student who found a ticket was awarded a five dollar Starbucks gift card.
The library also gave out metal golden bookmarks with the library’s “birthday” imprinted and attached to a note card with a few facts about the building.
The opening of the UTC library created the epicenter of UTC to be a space where all students felt comfortable to gather.
“Prior to the [library] being opened, Chamberlain [Field] was fenced in, and it was a place where occasionally athletic teams would work out, but a lot of the times, it just kind of sat vacant in the middle of campus,” Liedtka said.
Along with the popular Starbucks location, the library houses 40 individual study rooms, 15 meetings spaces and an abundance of resources that range from physical books to high-end studio equipment.
The yearly average amount of people who entered the old Lupton library was about 375,000 people per year, but last year, the average amount was about 760,000 people in the current building, Liedtka said.
“We just feel lucky that we get to live in the new space and with all the opportunities that come with it and in a way that the old library, though it was a solid structure, it was built in the late 1960’s and didn’t have the same appeal,” Liedtka said.