Simplicity and elegance were the hallmark of the soft opening of the modernized AIT library on 20 January 2017, with AIT President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai unveiling the facilities for use by the AIT community.
Five years after it was devastated by the ravaging flood, the soft launch by President Prof. Worsak also marks the first-ever major facelift for the library that was constructed nearly four decades ago.
In a touching speech at the inauguration, Prof. Worsak recalled the fateful day on 21 October 2011, when flood waters swamped the AIT campus and devastated the ground floor of the AIT library. For two months the ground floor of the AIT library was under water, and it seemed like a hopeless situation, Prof. Worsak reminisced. But this crisis also provided an opportunity and the Institute decided to rebuild the library as a showcase of user-friendly learning space, using the latest technology and digital publications.
Graced by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Honorary Chair of the International Advisory Committee of AIT’s Library Modernization campaign, Prof. Worsak launched a fundraising drive that yielded nearly 80 million Baht. Engraved names of donors on glass panels is one of the many ways in which sponsors have been acknowledged; besides a tree-like panel highlighting the major donors, and naming of rooms and facilities after significant benefactors.
Prof. Worsak remarked that the new AIT Library is a learning space where “multimedia facilities, digital repositories, and wonders of modern technologies and interior design converge to create a learning space and meeting places for scholarly discussion and intellectual reflection.”
He added that the soft opening would allow users to ascertain and ensure that all library systems are functioning properly, and that an official opening of the library will be scheduled later in the year.
Witnessed by members of the AIT community sporting the badge “I’m @ Modern AIT Library – First Day Badge,” the opening of the library saw a number of events beginning with a merit making ceremony on 17 January 2017. The soft inauguration on 20 January was following by demonstration and training of library facilities and equipment.
The highlights of the modernized library include a video-teleconference room, online studio, group study rooms, online search, ebooks and eJournals, self check-out and a 24-hour book drop facility. The cynosure of all eyes was “LibRobo,” a robot designed by AIT’s Mechatronics Laboratory that circulates around the reading areas, and fetches returned books.
M.L.Thanisa Choombala of AIT’s Language Center was the emcee of the inauguration. Later in the evening, a concert was organized by the AIT Students’ Union at the Knowledge Garden — a unique green serene place specially designed for users and strategically located in the library compound.