Grainger Engineering Library Idea Lab Information

(217) 300-0023
The Idea Lab is located in Grainger's lower level.

1301 W. Springfield Ave. | Urbana, IL 61801
Circulation (217) 333-3576 | Reference (217) 244-7826
  • The Idea Lab is open during Grainger's operating hours.

  • Access must be approved.
Submit a proposal to gain access to the IDEA Lab

If you already have authorized access, submit a request to reserve space and/or equipment in the IDEA Lab.
If you want to reserve an Innovator Design Room (040A and 040B) located outside the IDEA Lab, use this form.

Submit a request to print a 3D object
An image of 'Computing a Future' by Seward Johnson Jr., the statue that sits at Grainger Engineering Library's main entrance

Grainger Engineering Library Information Center Background

Since its opening twenty years ago, the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (GELIC) has served as a laboratory and incubator for the development and implementation of emerging information technologies. GELIC faculty and staff have long played a leadership role within research libraries, having secured over $16.6 million in outside grant funding since 1994 and authoring some 50 articles and conference papers on innovative digital library services. The Easy Search software suite developed at GELIC is presently used across the entire Library system and at university libraries and research programs nationally and internationally. At the same time, the Grainger Engineering Library offers state-of-the-art facilities and physical resources that contribute to the instructional, research, and service mission of the university.

The Grainger Engineering Library offers a number of College of Engineering and University-wide facilities and supporting services. For example, the CARE (Center for Academic resources in Engineering) center, dedicated to the support and retention of undergraduate students, opened on the fourth floor of the GELIC in 2011. CARE provides peer tutoring, enhanced instructional services, supplemental contact with teaching assistants, and a variety of collaborative spaces and equipment.

IDEA Lab Vision

Building on the success of CARE, the Grainger Engineering Library has acquired a set of exciting enhancements that will allow the Library to play an increasingly important role in the daily lives of students and faculty. 12,000 square feet in the GELIC lower level have been remodeled and now house the Grainger Engineering Library Innovation, Discovery, DEsign, and DAta Laboratory, the IDEA Lab. The IDEA Lab will provide space and technology for faculty/student collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship and will support a wide range of digital scholarship activities. The Lab will function as a demonstration and prototype site for exploring the interface between design learning, informatics, visualization, and data analytics. It will feature the informatics innovations and pioneering technologies that make the Grainger Engineering Library unique and will explore the role of the library in digital scholarship and design learning activities. As instructional and research methods change and adapt new technologies, it is critical that the GELIC adapt to embrace these changes and provide a state-of-the-art learning environment.

IDEA Lab Today

The IDEA Lab is currently working with three key College of Engineering groups: the Technology Entrepreneur Center fellows and faculty; students and faculty in the Mechanical Science and Engineering capstone senior design classes; and several Department of Computer Science visualization and design courses. The key components of the IDEA Lab are: several informatics laboratories offering students/faculty advanced information retrieval and database technologies; a number of student collaborative work areas with movable and wall-painted whiteboards and movable high definition monitors on carts; a number of collaboration tables with attached monitors for group viewing of work; a multi-screened presentation area for student/faculty talks; and a large multi-paneled monitor visualization wall for high definition data analysis and presentation.