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Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons Featured in ALA 2023 Library Design Showcase

September 1, 2023

The American Library Association (ALA) has recognized the Ramapo College Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons in its American Libraries Magazine 2023 Library Design Showcase as one of the most impressive libraries this year. Ramapo College is one of only three higher education institutions nationally to make this year’s list.  “Being among the select libraries recognized by a premier publication in the field of library science validates the hard work that many people put into creating a dynamic space,” said Leigh Keller, dean of the George T. Potter Library & Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons. “This acknowledgement serves as a testament to the College’s commitment to the current and future needs of our researchers, learners, and teachers.”

The Peter P. Mercer Learning Commons construction began in 2019 and sits on the land the former George T. Potter Library occupied, which is now housed inside the Learning Commons. The innovative building was designed to address and meet the needs of the campus community which included creating an inviting space where students, faculty and staff want to spend time and is more intuitively able to be navigated.

The oculus fills multiple levels with natural light and also serves as a striking entryway focal point with its clean, modern lines and glass.

The environmentally sustainable design of the Learning Commons took advantage of the stunning and scenic landscape afforded by the Ramapo Mountains and beautiful campus by incorporating floor-to-ceiling windows, ample-sized balconies for gathering, and an oculus that serves not only as a sharp and modern design element, but allows for abundant natural light to flood multiple floors in the building.

Features include high-tech, flexible-use classroom and laboratory space; double the amount of seating from the original Potter Library; 19 group study rooms that can be reserved online; four media rooms; dedicated individual study space; 18 gender-neutral restrooms; on-site tech support; and nearly 800 book shelving units with space for more than 24,000 lineal feet of books and printed materials. A very popular feature is Commons Grounds, a café at the entrance of the building where patrons can grab a bite to eat or enjoy Starbucks® drinks made by baristas.

The Learning Commons is also home to the:

The Learning Commons project was led by the architectural firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Dobco Inc., contractor; and Cambridge Construction Management.


The Learning Commons is named after Dr. Peter P. Mercer, who is the fourth president of Ramapo College (2005-2021).