Giving back: Miller Reading Room has ‘new room smell’

You won’t find the latest addition to the Cofrin Library on the shelves. You’ll find it behind the glass on the fifth floor.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Miller family, students are enjoying the new Norman and Shirlyn Miller Reading Room.

“I like it. I like the chairs. It’s new. It’s got that ‘new room smell.’ I like the art,” said UW-Green Bay sophomore Paul Malcore.

“I usually come in here and read a lot but the last few days I’ve been writing papers in here,” added senior Aaron Damrau, who is majoring in history, political science, and Social Change and Development.

Before the reading room was open, Damrau says he never even came to the library’s fifth floor. Now, it’s the first place he goes to study.

“I think it’s awesome to be able to use this room because it’s quiet, usually. My favorite thing is the tables and chairs, I guess,” Damrau said.

Shirlyn Miller at a recent Phuture Phoenix reception

Shirlyn Miller and her late husband Norman have been generous supporters of UW-Green Bay for more than 40 years. In fact, they made their first contribution to the University in April of 1969. Shirlyn was an original member of the Board of Visitors for UW-Green Bay and Norman served on the Founders Association Board of Directors in the late-1970s and early 1980s.

Norman Miller was the founder and president of Management Enterprises, which engineered the building of the first Shopko store, the Beacon Center and a number of Bellin Health clinics. He also served as director of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, president of Cnesses Israel Synagogue and was a member of the Green Bay Symphony board.

The Miller’s donation made it possible for the University to convert a conference room into a quiet reading room. The chairs are even designed specifically for the way college students sit.

“It was used within the first few minutes of putting the furniture in,” said library director Paula Ganyard. “We hadn’t actually finished arranging the furniture and students were in there to use it.”

Ganyard says for years students have asked for more quiet space in the library.

“Libraries have the reputation of traditionally being a very quiet place but libraries today aren’t the libraries of years ago,” Ganyard said. “We have a number of floors that are busy. We have student who are doing group projects and working together and talking is necessary. So it’s no longer the place where you walk around and a librarian shushes you.”

But thanks to the Miller Reading Room, the library is once again a place where students can get some peace and quiet while hitting the books.

“It’s a great addition to the library,” Damrau said.

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