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Photo: Barret Library

More Than a Building

The 136,000 square foot Paul Barret, Jr. Library, located in the center of Rhodes’ 100 acres, has become its symbolic heart as well. Its placement reoriented the campus so that the academic core physically and symbolically connects with co-curricular facilities. Large areas once relegated to the “back forty” are now integrated into the life of the college. And it is certainly not your grandfather’s library!

  • Barret is a technology center with a theater, complete media production facilities and a teaching and learning center that gives our professors the capacity to hold virtual global classes with colleagues around the world. But we haven’t gone technocrazy. The collection includes books and traditional resources as well as databases and online journals.
  • It has dozens of collaborative study spaces where students can work with professors and each other and actually talk out loud. These spaces, like the rest of the library, offer a completely wireless environment.
  • The 24-hour Middle Ground cybercafé has become the most popular gathering place on campus. Students like the Starbucks coffee and gourmet fare, the computers for checking email or working on a paper, the comfortable lounge furniture and the wall-mounted oversized plasma TV screen.
  • Quieter interludes often occur in the literary garden that is tucked away behind the cloister on the east side of the building. Students relax on the benches or directly on the grass and enjoy the plantings that were featured in the works of Southern writers such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullars and Robert Penn Warren.

One student says, “I love studying here because it’s beautiful, everything I need is close by and it’s inspiring to be around so many other people working hard.”