University of California San Diego
Geisel Library

Construction Zone April 2022

April 5, 2022
Libraries and Media Centers

Inspiring interiors

The University of California San Diego is renovating its flagship Geisel Library.

The university says the improvements at the library are designed to make the facility “as inspirational on the inside as it is on the outside.”

The total footprint of the renovation is about 18,700 square feet, which includes the entrance, lobby and main corridor. Of that, 7,800 square feet of employee workspace is being converted to public user space for a Service Hub and Active Learning Classroom.

With the creation of the Service Hub, reference, circulation, information and technology lending will come together in one central location. This area also will have new consultation rooms where library employees can meet with and assist students, faculty and researchers. The addition of the Active Learning Classroom will address a need for library instructional space while also creating an area for study when classes are not in session.

An automated book dispenser within the Service Hub will enable students to easily retrieve and return holds and technology with the touch of a button. Other improvements include expansion of the 24/5 Overnight Study Commons, a central “meet spot” near the entrance, and new exhibit spaces. The renovation also will add a gender-neutral restroom and lactation room.

This project marks the final phase of the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, which launched in 2015 with a $3 million donation from philanthropist Audrey Geisel. The library is named for Geisel and her husband, Theodore Geisel--better known as Dr. Seuss.

The initiative was established to transform and rejuvenate the library’s most heavily used interior public spaces to meet the evolving needs of users in an increasingly digital environment.

The renovations are expected to be complete by July 2022. The university says the library will remain open throughout the construction.

The architect is Kevin deFreitas Architects.

Protecting rare collections

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has secured funding for a $33 million shelving facility that will provide the environmental controls needed to preserve its library collections.

Existing shelving space is nearing capacity; the planned Libraries Collections Preservation Facility will enable UW–Madison Libraries to preserve some of the state’s most critical research materials that are part of its rare and distinctive collections. Relocation of these resources also will free up space on campus for teaching, learning and research.

“UW Libraries’ collections include thousands of irreplaceable books, manuscripts and media that serve as invaluable resources to researchers throughout the UW System and beyond,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank says. “As stewards of these valued collections, it is our responsibility to ensure they are properly kept and preserved.”

The new 38,160-square-foot shelving facility will nearly quadruple the amount of space available at an existing location in Verona — a 10,000-square-foot facility in the Materials Distribution Services building. In general, existing library facilities at the university lack proper environmental controls to meet preservation standards for the at-risk collections of film, audiotape, art and acidic paper-based materials.

Long-term access to rare special collections and fragile materials requires conditions where temperature and humidity are controlled, along with appropriate fire protection and modern security technology. The off-site shelving facility at Verona, about 10 miles southwest of Madison, is reaching capacity and lacks the required environmental controls.

The Libraries Collections Preservation Facility also will help the university address a space crunch on campus. It will free up prime space for multipurpose uses such as active learning environments and spaces to facilitate interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaboration using emerging technologies.

Groundbreaking is expected in late 2023. In the meantime, library leaders help evaluate which materials are most appropriately held in the new facility.

New library at Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts University is building a new library on its Tulsa, Okla., campus.

The J.D. McKean Library will offer students contemporary resources and technology, the university says. In addition to the standard print items, the facility will have kiosks for checking out materials, an expanded digital database with tens of thousands of materials on every pertinent subject from all over the world, multimedia stations, and individual and group study areas.

“This building will provide our students new academic experiences that enhance their collegiate journey,” says Oral Roberts president William Wilson. “It is exciting to think about the conversations that will occur in this new space.”

The university’s Holy Spirit Research Center also will be situated in the library building. The center, established in 1962, houses one of the largest and most comprehensive Pentecostal-Charismatic and Holy Spirit collections in the world.

The architect is KSQ Design.

The library is one of several new buildings Oral Roberts is constructing. The others: a Welcome Center, a new Media Arts Center and an Athletics Center. The university says the additional facilities are needed to meet the needs of its expanding student body. The university has had 13 consecutive years of fall enrollment growth and had a student population of 4,753 in fall 2021.


Demand for digital

Rutgers University has renovated a reading room area at Alexander Library on the New Brunswick, N.J., campus and transformed it into a Digital Learning Commons.

The university says the space—dubbed the DLC—is the largest gathering space available to students at Rutgers-New Brunswick aside from cafeterias or gymnasiums.

The DLC occupies a high-ceilinged room that stretches the full depth of Alexander Library. Among its features:

  • A large, glassed-off “pitch room” for large-group collaboration and informal presentations.
  • A pair of “one-button studios” with cameras, microphones, lights, and green screens set up in advance so students can capture professional-quality audio and video presentations with the touch of a button.
  • An audio-recording booth that lets up to four users produce professional-grade sound for podcasts, voice-over work, and other projects.
  • An information desk staffed by both library staff and computer lab consultants.
  • A 12-seat conference room equipped with a motion-tracking camera so speakers can move freely about the meeting space.
  • Reservable breakout rooms for small groups.
  • Private office space that is available for consultations with either reference librarians or the Rutgers Office of Disability Services.

The architect is Spiezle Architectural Group.

Library overhaul continues at University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has approved the second phase of a renovation of the main library on the Fayetteville campus.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports that the improvements to the first and second floors of the Mullins Library will cost between $35.5 million and $41.5 million.

Mullins Library opened in 1968. Phase 1 of the renovation, a $25 million project that overhauled the third and fourth floors of the building, was completed last year. In preparation for Phase 2, books from the first two floors have been moved to levels three and four.

Among the key issues the latest renovation will address are completing installation of a fire sprinkler system required by state code and removal of any remaining asbestos from the building.

The improvements also will “continue the process of rearranging building programs and spaces to support current academic culture.”

The university says major services on the first two floors—special collections, the service and circulation desk, and a quiet reading room—may be supplemented by offerings such as a learning commons, a major event space, a larger and more accessible special collections reading room, a food service venue, training rooms, and a media center.

The architects are Kennedy & Violich Architecture and DEMX Architecture.

Expanding opportunities

The state of North Carolina has approved $56 million in funding for a renovation and expansion of the library at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

The improvements at Randall Library include a 118,000-square-foot, three-story expansion at the west side of the facility along with a partial renovation of the existing interior.

The design seeks to provide better access to student services with a one-stop shop model.

The renovation aims to double the library’s existing seat count, integrate technology-rich spaces throughout the library, create appropriate space for Special Collections, and provide an efficient workflow for staff. A new café will provide gathering and work areas. The project will be phased so the library can remain in use during construction.

Groundbreaking is expected later in 2022.

The architects are LS3P and Shepley Bulfinch.

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