CORVALLIS - The new Valley Library at Oregon State University has nearly a quarter of a million bricks - enough to build 124 mid-sized homes. And with 650,000 square feet of sheet rock - about 15 football fields worth - it is easy to see how this massive six-story building took nearly three years to construct.

But the grand physical structure of the library is only part of the story. It's what is within its walls that makes The Valley Library unique.

"The university library experience is changing," said Karyle Butcher, the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian at OSU. "Computers are replacing yellow legal pads. Students submit assignments electronically and produce web pages in lieu of term papers, and give multimedia presentations. Faculty post the course syllabus and assignments on electronic bulletin boards.

"We needed to change our services and resources to keep pace with how students and faculty study and work," she added.

The library's new Information Commons is the hub of this "21st-century style of education," Butcher said. The commons includes a multimedia technology resource center to help students develop and produce multimedia presentations. It has an electronic classroom with 24 networked computer workstations and a motion picture quality projection unit. There are even 20 circulating laptop computers that students can check out for use within the building.

Perhaps even more important are the people resources - a staff of experts available to help students and faculty use the new technology.

"The idea of the Information Commons is to create a single place - a one-stop shopping center, if you will - where users can both find the information they need for learning and research, and the resources to create their own document," Butcher said.

The technological capabilities of the library stretch off campus. The library houses the university's distance learning program and serves as headquarters for OSU Statewide, which makes Oregon State's unique resources available to Oregonians in every corner of the state.

Though technology is a hallmark of the new building, it also has nearly 1.5 million volumes of books, more than 160,000 maps and government documents on microfilm, and numerous other resources accessible to students, faculty and other users.

The university's Special Collections are housed at The Valley Library, including nearly 500,000 papers, books, medals and research notebooks belonging to the late Linus Pauling. The Pauling Collection is said to be one of the most complete collections of an individual scientist anywhere in the world, and has drawn the attention of numerous scholars and biographers. A 1922 graduate of Oregon State, Pauling was the only individual to win two unshared Nobel Prizes. His wife, the late peace activist Helen Ava Pauling, also is featured in the collection.

The Valley Library is named after the family of Wayne and Gladys Valley. It was funded by a variety of public and private gifts, including $10 million from The Valley Foundation, support from the state of Oregon, and more than 9,000 gifts from OSU alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends..

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Karyle Butcher, 541-737-7300