After the success of the Grotto Commons renovations, a future project for Mercyhurst is the Hammermill Library.
According to news release by the University Public Relations Office, the Ridge Reading Room and Gallery will be constructed with a grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation of Pittsburgh. While the Hillman Foundation rarely invests outside of Pittsburgh, this project is special due to the close relationship of the Ridge and Hillman families.
The late Elsie Hillman was a supporter of any campaign in which Gov. Tom Ridge chose to endeavor. This relationship will be commemorated by naming the study space next to the Thomas J. and Michele Ridge Collection in Hillman’s honor.
The collection itself is expansive, with multiple windows into the daily life and work of the former governor of Pennsylvania and his wife. The materials included span from the daily briefings of the governor and Mrs. Ridge and their schedules, to the files created while planning and executing events held in fulfillment of the duties of the governor. Included in the event files are the texts of every speech that both the governor and Mrs. Ridge have given, which supplies invaluable information to researchers in search of primary sources and quotes from the Ridges. There are also all manner of newspaper clippings, news releases and other media created in response to both the Governor and Mrs. Ridge’s actions as the First Family.
Mrs. Ridge, being a librarian and former executive director of the Erie County library, saw the value in the materials and ensured that they were saved. This adds to the incredible value of the collection.
For many students, one doesn’t have to explain the value of the library and what is contained within. Sarah Pascal, senior, says that “The library is one of the most peaceful places for me to study.” She continued on to say that Webber Hall is one of her favorite quiet places to get work done.
Darci Jones, director of university Libraries and Distance Learning, hopes that the renovations will bring more of these useful spaces to the library for students.
“It is essential for students to have access to a type of environment that provides areas such as counter spaces, comfy, quiet reading spaces and research meeting spaces,” Jones said. These service points are essential for students who need to collaborate in a productive environment.
The library needs more of these service points for students to work, both in groups and separately, due to the record-breaking freshman class,” she said. Jones went on to say that the busy building will be a place where tradition meets technology.