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COC dedicates library expansion

Posted: October 24, 2012 5:01 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2012 5:01 p.m.

The College of the Canyons officially marked the completion of its Valencia campus library expansion project during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

The expansion consists of two components. The first added 5,000 square feet to the area used for library functions, and the second expanded The Learning Center, the main hub for the college’s tutoring and academic support services, by 36,000 square feet.

Jan Keller, who was the COC’s first librarian before he retired in 2003, recounted the growth of the library over the years, from its beginnings in a Quonset hut to the opening of the college’s library building in 1997.

“I hope that you people who live here and work here understand what a gift this is,” Keller said of the expansion.

The expansion was funded in large part through the $160 million Measure M construction bond Santa Clarita voters approved in 2006. But Keller said plans to build and later expand the library started as soon as Dianne Van Hook, chancellor of the Santa Clarita Community College District, stepped onto campus.

“I said, ‘Okie dokie, I think we need a bigger library,’” Van Hook recalled.

The library and Learning Center expansions come after several years of steady increases in student use, said James Glapa-Grossklag, the COC dean of educational technology, learning resources and distance learning. Glapa-Grossklag said The Learning Center had a 30 percent increase in student use from the 2010 spring semester to the 2012 spring semester. The library also had more than 3,500 patrons a week during the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Students know what it takes to succeed and they know this is a place that helps them succeed,” Glapa-Grossklag said.

Though she acknowledged the expansion came during uncertain economic times, Van Hook said it was a chance worth taking.

“We embrace risk and we embrace change because we know that where there is change, there is opportunity,” Van Hook said. “And we never miss an opportunity to serve our students.”




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