Opening Day for the Hope Barber Shull Academic Resource Center: First Looks at Hope's Dream

Campus Life // February 3, 2016

"I love the building, my sons love the building, and I bet my grandchildren will love it when they get old enough to come," Dr. Don Shull, retired English professor, said of the Hope Barber Shull Academic Resource Center, named in memory of his wife, Hope.

Shull visited the three-story, 49,599 square foot facility Monday morning, Feb. 1, not long after it opened for its first day of business. He pronounced it "beautiful." "It's the kind of library Hope dreamed of," he said. "From the beginning, Hope wanted a building that was designed to look beautiful, to be state-of-the-art, and, of course, to be highly functional."

Students were also impressed with the long-awaited, much anticipated building. Arthur Martin, a senior from Swansea, Illinois, said, "It greatly adds to places students can congregate. It has a plethora of spaces students can study and hang-out." He was also pleased with the number of help desks, particularly the availability of the tech desk, and accessibility for students with handicaps. His greatest enthusiasm, however, was reserved for the compact, moving bookcases. "When I saw those," he explained, "I said, 'Hogwarts!'"

Martin was, in fact, the first student in the door Monday morning when the library opened. "I got here at 7:15," he said. "I wanted to experience it the first day."

The ARC is named in memory of FHU's long-time library director, Hope Barber Shull, who served as library director until shortly before her passing March 10, 2013.  She had long dreamed of a larger Freed-Hardeman library that would increase the materials available and better meet the expanding and shifting role of libraries. This building bears her imprint in its design and in its aim to better serve students, according to FHU President Joe Wiley. A reading area dedicated to her is located near the west entrance of the new facility.

Anna Bell, a junior English major from Henderson, is now in her third semester as a library student worker. "I really like all the study areas," she said. As one of those who had to "run" all over campus to retrieve books from storage when a library patron requested them, she is especially grateful for the easy access. "It is really nice having all of the books in one place," she said. As a commuting student, she does much of her studying at home. However, she expects to use the library when working on group projects.

Library Director Wade Osburn thanked students for their patience during the construction period when the library staff was temporarily housed in the first floor of the Draughon Building and print materials were stored in various campus locations. "I am thankful for their patience," he said. "I think this building is worth the wait. I'm looking forward to seeing it filled with students."

Faculty members, as well as students, can reserve individual study rooms by using the D!BS app on any tablet, smart phone or computer. Ryan Hysmith, instructor of finance, was already at work on his doctoral dissertation in one of the spaces Monday morning. The D!bs app allows any student, faculty or staff member to reserve one of 10 private study rooms (day or night, up to a week in advance without having to contact the library). Patrons just access the link (, submit their needs and browse through available rooms.

"The new facility is incredible. The ARC offers students convenience, comfort, social opportunities, and — most importantly — expanded learning opportunities," Hysmith said. "The ease with which students can reserve rooms and utilize the space will feel like a real privilege."

The ARC is home to the Loden-Daniel Library, the Hope Barber Shull Library, KC's Coffee House, the Learning Center and the Center for Instructional Innovation. It also provides reading and study areas, wireless Internet access, group study rooms and a quiet room.

Print and copy rooms are located on the first and second floors. The University's Archives and Reading Room are located on the second floor, and the Learning Commons and Help Desk, where students can receive technology assistance for class assignments, are located near the east, first-floor entrance. During the academic year, the ARC will be open 90.5 hours per week. 

An official dedication for the building is planned for April 8 at 1 p.m. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are invited to be part of the celebration.

Funds for the Hope Barber Shull Academic Resource Center were provided by lead donors John and Rosemary Brown, Freed-Hardeman alumni from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and other generous alumni and friends.