AIT Library Modernization
Background: The original AIT Library was constructed with funds donated by the Government of Japan in 1981, and it acquired a face-lift in 2007, courtesy of support from the AIT Alumni Association (AITAA). It was an example of a typical university library built at that time, with bookshelves dominating the ground floor and special collections being showcased on the upper floor.
Flooding: In October 2011, Thailand experienced its worst flooding on record. As flood barriers in Ayuthaya and Pathumthani were breached, industrial estates as well as suburban residential areas were submerged under water. After more than two weeks of valiant attempts to safeguard our beloved campus and valued community against this onslaught; on Friday October 21, AIT too succumbed to the natural disaster. On that fateful day, vast amounts of floodwaters gushed inside the campus, forcing a complete evacuation. The inundation of AIT was total and complete, with water cresting at more than two meters. The floodwaters remained for over two months, and severely damaged almost the entire AIT infrastructure, including the ground floor of the Library.
Renovation: After the flood, the library received an allocation of 10 million Baht from insurance compensation for repairing its ground floor. The repair could have been completed in a simple straightforward manner, if AIT wanted to maintain the library in the same old form and format. However, today library users (faculty, researchers and students) access, process, and use information in a manner totally different from the practices followed 40 years ago when this AIT library was designed and built.
Objective of the Campaign
Libraries are no longer places to merely browse books or to complete assignments. Instead modern libraries have emerged as places for immersive learning and meeting places for academic discussion and intellectual reflection; where media centers, digital repositories, and wonders of modern architecture and design converge to create a stimulating atmosphere. Thus, it is a good opportunity for the AIT library to be modernized to cater to the 21st century needs of the students and faculty in a more efficient and productive manner, so that they can avail of new and amazing services, benefit from emerging technologies, while simultaneously utilize the tailor-made spaces to study and collaborate.
Facilities: The following list highlights some new ideas that are being considered for inclusion in the renovation plan of the AIT Library.
- All books, print materials, theses and special collections will be shelved on the upper floor of the library. Aided by an extensive online catalog, this will be a site for faculty and student designated and recommended text books and reading materials.
- The ground floor of the library will become a modern marvel, with massive reading spaces. Instead of stocking books, the ground floor will have open spaces, computers, multimedia stations, carrels, and a large number of niche group study rooms and chambers. It will also house a VIP lounge, an exhibition area, and designated meeting rooms for alumni and visitors.
- Faculty, researchers, and students will be able to enjoy many of available resources through vast online repositories containing e-books, subscriptions to online databases, online journals, and open-access publications.
- A special multimedia lab is planned for video production, video conferencing, web-casting, webinars and for distance education.
- There will be designated social areas and study spaces, all fitted with digital connection points that allow students to share, connect, and utilize library materials in a more productive manner. Digital connectivity will be a key feature of the new library.
The goal of the AIT Library Campaign is to raise a fund of 50 million Baht (1.5 million USD).