Warm up by the fire: Rasmuson Library gets synthetic fireplace
Brady Gross/Sun Star Reporter
February 19, 2013
An electric fireplace with simulated flames now adorns a small corner on the fourth floor of the UAF Rasmuson Library. Propped against a wall with two chairs and a coffee table nearby, the fireplace sits in a location usually forgotten by most library patrons.
The fireplace came into existence through suggestions from student focus groups held by library staff. Surveys were also encouraged to be filled out by patrons while checking materials out. The library continually is searching for suggestions to help create a more inviting and friendly place for students.
“Normally we add to our Library Collections, but we also realize that the Library serves as a place for our students,” said Suzan Hahn, Head of Collections and Access Services. Over the last few years, grants have been used from the Mary Louise Rasmuson Foundation, a private foundation that helps promote a better life for Alaskans. These grants have in the past have funded third floor study cubicles and chairs around the library. Financially or constructively, the fireplace was one project that didn’t seem that difficult to carry out.
UAF Dean of Libraries, Bella Gerlich, approved the idea and the fireplace was assembled quickly and installed over the weekend of January 26th. The fireplace was purchased from a local merchant for approximately $560.
The fireplace can be operated with or without heat and is on a timer ranging from 30 minutes to eight hours. Library staff is in charge of operating and turning off the fireplace at closing every evening, but also has an automated shutoff feature to keep electricity costs low and to ensure there are no safety issues.
Hahn has noticed that students like to sit in front of the fireplace, especially on colder days.
“It creates a warm inviting atmosphere to lounge in with your favorite book, do some reading before or after class, or catch-up with friends while enjoying a latte,” Hahn said.