As the UC Board of Regents approved $71 million in funding for ongoing renovations to Davidson Library at their meeting last week, UCSB will launch its multi-year construction plan to add a multimedia lab, an honors students reading room and enhanced research support, among other improvements, this coming school year.

Davidson Library has already undergone a number of changes for Fall 2012 including a new convenience store at the building’s front entrance and an expanded 24-hour study space — complete with 24-hour security guards and access to computers, scanners, printers and vending machines — to the first and second floors of the library. The building will also receive a new second floor graduate study room and plans to keep all 24-hour study space areas open throughout the duration of construction.

Life sciences librarian Kristen LaBonte said the upcoming modifications — even small changes like installing additional power outlets — will allow for more productive interaction between students.

“We’re creating more collaborative spaces for students. We find that as time goes on, students use the library less for books and more for collaborating and research,” LaBonte said. “Our library currently doesn’t have as many group study rooms and the new edition will have a lot more of those.”

According to Rebecca Metzger, assistant university librarian for outreach and academic collaboration, the library decided to expand 24-hour study space areas since reconstruction will be lengthy and administrators were aiming to cause as little disruption as possible.

“One of our big goals is to avoid distractions,” Metzger said. “The overnight study space that we’re launching at the beginning of fall is one of the enhanced services that we’re adding to make up for the 24-hour room that will have to disappear during renovation.”

Metzger added that the Davidson Library and the UCen will host a store-naming contest for the new library convenience store during the first week of school, with the winner receiving a free iPad.

Assistant University Librarian for Research and Scholar Services Gary Johnson said librarians and other building employees will strive to prevent construction practices from disturbing students’ study experience.

“The renovated building will become a signature building on campus [that is] easily recognizable as a place for collaboration for intellectual stimulation as well as instruction and research on campus,” Johnson said.