University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


February 21, 2003

University Celebrates Grand Opening of Library

USA faculty, students, alumni and staff are invited to celebrate the grand opening of the University Library at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5.

The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, refreshments, tours of the library and a visit from special guest Winston Groom, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of the best-selling novel "Forrest Gump."

USA Library
University of South Alabama Library

"It has been the collective vision of the University to build the academic quality of this institution and improve the learning environment on campus," USA President Gordon Moulton said. "The library project illustrates the realization of that vision, and we will continue to work to enhance the academic missions of USA faculty and students."

The $9.4 million renovation and expansion project adds 53,000 square feet to the existing library, and a wealth of new resources that will greatly enrich learning and research opportunities. This is the first major renovation of the library since it opened 35 years ago in 1968.

With funding from both state and University bond issues, Dean of University Libraries Dr. Richard Wood worked with The Architectural Group of Mobile to renovate the library and design a new north wing. The project, managed by Doster Construction Company, nearly doubled library space.

In addition to physical improvements, the University Libraries have infused more than $2 million in additional funding over the past three years for collection purchases. This is above and beyond a 30 percent increase in the library's operating budget over five years ago. Last year, the library was able to fill every request for books submitted by USA faculty.

"This is an exciting time, not only because of the events surrounding the dedication of the library but also because this is the culmination of the work of so many," Wood said. "The efforts of faculty, staff and construction personnel have created a modern, state-of-the-art facility that provides the very latest in technology, resources and services. The library is a source of pride for the whole University community."

Some new features of the USA Library include:

  • State-of-the-art faculty development center
  • Technology training center with multimedia workstations
  • Ultramodern reference/service desks
  • High-tech, 100-seat auditorium
  • Group study rooms with Internet connection
  • Dramatic campus views
  • Spacious exhibit area
  • Hands-on computer classrooms
  • Audiovisual previewing rooms

As a part of the library dedication activities, Groom will sign copies of his books at 4:30 p.m. The Mobile native is the author of 12 books, including "Forrest Gump," "Gump & Co.," "Better Times Than These," the award-winning "As Summers Die," "Gone the Sun," "Only," "Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl," prize-winning "Shrouds of Glory," "A Storm in Flanders," "The Crimson Tide," and a recently finished novel, "El Paso."

He is also the co-author of "Conversations with the Enemy," a non-fiction account of the experience of an American prisoner of war in Vietnam, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Groom's books are available for purchase at the University Bookstore. For more information, contact the Office of Public Relations at 460-6211.


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