This summer, with the help of an anonymous donor, Davidson Library received an upgrade to its communications infrastructure and decor.

During the upgrade, which was supervised by Head of Information Services Patrick Dawson and Publicity Coordinator Sandy Lewis, workers fitted the library with updated computer equipment, which allows laptop users to access the Internet through multiple wireless hot spots. The library also received $1,500 in new indoor and outdoor furniture, as well as vending machines for the 24-hour study room. Improvements to the facilities cost approximately $20,000, Dawson said. An anonymous donor paid roughly $1,125 toward the cost of the furniture, and the remaining money for the upgrade came from funding collected through library services, such as late fees and photocopying fees.

Dawson said the upgrade to the communications infrastructure was long overdue. In the past, there were not enough Ethernet stations to satisfy student demand. The library added four new hot spots, bringing the total number of wireless Internet locations to five. Hot spots are now located in the Government Information Center, the Digital Library, the 24-hour study room, the Reference and Information Center and the library’s fourth floor – the site of the original hot spot, he said.

Dawson said the library decided to invest in wireless Internet instead of simply adding more Ethernet plugs in response to student requests and because wireless is easier and less expensive to set up.

“We did a poll of students last spring and asked what they wanted,” he said. “They wanted wireless Internet, more furniture and vending machines. We did it all.”

David Luu, a second-year computer engineering major, said he found the new equipment much more convenient.

“I think it’s great,” Luu said. “There are a lot more seating options and I can just plug into the table. It’s wireless too.”

Third-year chemistry major Shaan Uppal said he agrees, and that he would like to see the wireless services continue to expand.

“They should add this to more places in the library,” Uppal said. “It’s pretty cool if you have a wireless computer. The speed works well and it’s very helpful.”

In addition to the new communications capabilities, Dawson said the library replaced outdated furniture, much of which dated back to the late ’60s, with 121 new chairs and 22 new tables wired with electrical outlets for laptop users.

Dawson said posters from the ’50s and onward, featuring UCSB concerts, author lectures and other special events, now decorate the halls throughout the library. The most interesting poster, he said, features Ike and Tina Turner, who performed at UCSB over 30 years ago.

The library recently held a contest to see which posters students would like to see in the halls, and will soon be posting NASA photographs from space in unused hallway space, he said.

Lewis said the library also added a new coffee machine and a new candy vending machine to the patio area outside the 24-hour study room, and said she thinks the machines will be convenient for students studying late at night.

“If you’re studying at 2:30 a.m. the Arbor and UCen are closed, and the students had nowhere to go,” Dawson said.

As far as determining future plans, Dawson and Lewis said they plan to use surveys and focus groups to figure out what is needed.

“It’d be really nice to get rid of the orange floors,” Lewis said.