Woodruff Library Level 1 Breakroom Redux or ‘Please pardon our progress!’

photo of breakroom

The current condition of the 1st level employee breakroom in the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Woodruff Library’s level 1 employee break room is getting a major facelift this fall. This change is happening due to the efforts of the Library Employee Advocacy Forum (LEAF) and Emory Libraries leadership, along with the LITS Business and Finance team. Employees can expect changes to take place in stages that started last week with the quick relocation of the soda and snack machines to the corner of Peets. You can find more details on the rough timeline for changes below.

Since the early days when LEAF was called GLEAC, a staff break room has been on the minds of our employee advocates. Legend has it that the designers of the new Center for Library And Information Resources (CLAIR) were not planning to have a general employee break room in Woodruff at all until GLEAC asked for it. That is why the setup doesn’t really resemble a formal breakroom. Updates and homey touches through the years have been nice, but the growth of the libraries, and feedback at LEAF coffees, made it clear that LEAF needed to find out if and how people used the Level 1 breakroom and if they wanted change.

A survey in 2017 revealed that changes were needed (you can see the results here), and in 2018 LEAF worked with the Library Facilities team to get a few updates done and the new coffee machines installed. We began to see more use of the break room at that point.

In 2019, LEAF members did some formal observations of the uses of the break room and presented the findings to Library leadership. The data made it clear that LEAF should move forward to deliver a formal plan to leadership for furniture, flooring, and appliance updates to the break room.

floor plan of breakroom

Some of the proposed changes.

This year, LEAF formed a break room sub-committee to begin working with leadership on the changes. Each step of the process has been shared with the LEAF reps to communicate and get feedback within their areas. Now that leadership has approved the project, here are the physical changes you can expect over the next twelve weeks (approximately):

  • Step 1: Remove old coloring space cabinets to prep for flooring replacement.
  • Step 2: Remove two upper cabinets and have flooring installed
  • Step 3: Install flooring and new wall base
  • Step 4: Paint and patch
  • Step 5: Install new appliances
  • Step 6: Surplus to remove old furniture the day before new furniture installs
  • Step 7: Install new furniture (1st or 2nd week of November)

We don’t have exact dates, so just look out for emails from LEAF.

LEAF offers a huge thank you to Yolanda Cooper, who has been an avid supporter of LEAF, to Michael Williamson, who has ushered us through the procurement of Emory Project and Design services, and to the Library Facilities team ,who has had to put up with the complaints and cleaning issues for the past 20+ years.

We also thank ALL library employees and especially those who have served on LEAF through the years (if you hadn’t kept up membership in this group, we wouldn’t have a voice to give on this project). And as always, any feedback is welcome via the “Straight Talk” form: http://bit.ly/LEAF-form.

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