Library’s new addition getting lots of love

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Library’s new addition getting lots of love

Students feel motivated to gather and study at the new Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons at UNL

It’s 9 at night in a new space he loves – the Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons in Love Library – and a UNL junior is immersed in an emotion.


He looks up from his laptop.

“Right now, I’m working on a project for my psychology class,” Richard Conway says. “I’m looking for a movie clip called ‘Envy.’”

There are, he explains, two facets to envy. One is the kind that motivates you to elevate yourself. You see someone who has something you don’t, and it makes you try harder to get it. The other is the destructive kind. You see someone who has something you don’t, and you try to harm them, or wish them bad luck. The fruit of that darkness is frustration, anger.

Richard loves to think about people’s motivations and emotions. He wants to become a psychologist someday. The textbook next to his laptop: “Understanding Motivation and Emotion.”

He loves to sit here along the north wall of windows in the Kit and Dick Schmoker Study Center and watch people walk by.

“When this space was first built, when they had the grand opening with free drinks and donuts and everything, I was here. And I’ve been here ever since.

“I go to different places to find out which one suits me best. I really love the Quiet Study Area where you can sit down in the cubicle and nobody’s around and you’re just in your own zone. And these windows – I love these windows. I can see outside. I like people watching, analyzing people. You see some interesting stuff in here.

“I love even the small things, like how they have these little outlets right here. It’s convenient.”


He uses that word a lot as he talks about this space. So do other students interviewed here this spring night, just a few weeks after the March 28 dedication when the donors and dignitaries praised this new space and Husker cheerleaders chanted “Go Big Red!” and then everyone moved outside to the north plaza and cut the red ribbon.


That emotion seems to have been built into the bricks and tiles and the walls of windows, open to all sides of campus. That emotion seems to shine here, as bright as the lights inside that that turn this place into a beacon at night.

It’s full of students this night. It has been, they say, almost every night.

This space memorializes Adele Coryell Hall, a former student herself here who shined brightly back in the day. A kiosk near the front doors holds items from her life and photos of her. She had a warm smile. She was a Husker cheerleader, and a leader on campus. She was a beauty queen. A black and white photo shows her in a long dress and this caption:


Adele Coryell … Miss July … Lincoln … Freshman… Kappa Kappa Gamma … Chosen from twelve finalists…

She was a scholar. Her Phi Beta Kappa certificate hangs in the kiosk. She graduated in 1953.

As the wife of the CEO of Hallmark cards company, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, she dedicated her life’s work to philanthropy.

She was at the heart of campus life when she was a student, Chancellor Harvey Perlman said this past March 28, as he stood here on the day the dedication. So it’s fitting, he said, that this new space named for her would also be located at the heart of campus.

A big part of her life was to help others, said her son and granddaughter that day. They hoped the new space would be a place that motivates students not just to study, but also to give back.


It’s 9:15 at night.

In the outdoor plaza, beyond the north wall of windows where Richard Conway sits, a group of four young women are talking around a table. For the past hour, they’ve been working on a group presentation about peers in adolescents for their Adolescent Development class.

“I love it here,” says Mary Benes, who wears a red “N” on her ballcap. She’s an elementary education and special education major, a sophomore. “I love how open it is. I usually come in the afternoon, and I use those study rooms they have with the screens you can hook up your laptop to. It helps a lot. We like to put our presentation up on the board, and we can work on it.”

The young women say they love the long lines of tiny white lights that decorate this plaza at night.

“It’s really neat to sit here with all the lights around,” Mary says.

They love how the bright lights inside help them focus.

They love the technology.

They love the energy.

“The energy level varies here throughout the day,” says another of the four young women, Michaela Daugherty, a sophomore who’s majoring in environmental science. “I’ve studied here at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and it was more fast-paced because kids are coming in and out, going to their classes, and then I’ve studied on nights like tonight, when it’s kind of chill and quiet.”

They love how its spaces are designed with all types of study needs in mind. If you need a quiet space, you can go to the Quiet Study Area. If you want to collaborate, you can gather in the open spaces or sign up for a Group Study Room (all of the 15 rooms are full at the moment, according to a big monitor in the main hallway).

If you need assistance, you can just ask experts staffing the Barbara J. Lawrence Arnold, M.D., ASKus Exchange 24 hours a day.

They love the Henning Family Cafe, with Dunkin Donuts and coffee.

Christina Coon, an anthropology major, says she stopped there first thing.

“I definitely take advantage of the Dunkin Donuts,” she says, laughing. “I got a strawberry sprinkle frosting one when I came here. I love it.”


The day this space was dedicated, large whiteboards were lined up for the donors and other dignitaries to see. They were covered with notes from students:

Thanks for creating such a wonderful space; makes me actually want to study. …

I study here a lot and I like it – especially the quiet reading room which keeps me focused. …

Thank you so much for creating a welcoming place to study and having it open for all hours of day/night!

A student named Magdalena Cazarez wrote this:

Thank you for the donation of the new and improved library! It has become my second home.

Magdalena is here this night. She expects to be here until midnight. She is behind the soundproof glass wall in Group Study Room No. 107. She’s majoring in Advertising and Public Relations. She’s preparing for a Media Law test.

She loves the quiet rooms and the group study rooms. She loves the desktop computers because they help her write her long papers. She loves the fireplace, and how this place truly feels like a second home.

“The Adele Hall Learning Commons has given me the motivation,” she says, “to study harder.”


It’s 9:30 at night.

Richard Conway has almost finished his research on envy. He says he’s been here since 3 o’clock. He says he’s the kind of person who can’t go to bed without accomplishing something.

He smiles.

“And I know another motivation for me here – all the beautiful women here. Of course, I’m not going to be distracted. But I like seeing beautiful women studying. It reminds me that I should be studying, too.”

Motivation and emotion.

“I feel like this place almost encourages more students to study,” he says. “We all want to be in this new environment.”
The University of Nebraska’s “Our Students, Our Future” fundraising initiative  will help make better futures for us all. The two-year, $200 million initiative runs through 2017. If you would like to help in this effort, please contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

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