Library undergoes renovations to better serve students


The shape of the redesigned Mary Couts Burnett Library is emerging as the project enters its final months.

The rectangular-shaped building will feature more space, such as areas designated specifically for graduate students, and study rooms. Other new amenities include technology upgrades as well as improved food service.

According to the construction blueprints, two bridges will connect the library to the Rees-Jones Hall, similar to the Brown-Lupton University Union. The second floor will expand to hold more rooms and study spaces.

One of the biggest concerns being addressed by the construction is the lack of study space for students.

“We’re adding 17 brand new group study rooms,” said James Lutz, director of library administrative services. “We’re going up to about 32-33 new rooms that students can reserve to study in.”

Lutz said that there will also be more space in the computer lab, so students won’t be as cramped.

Blueprints show that the food service area will expand and there will be a larger stock room.

In the previous design of the library, there were not many rooms specifically for graduates to work and study. However, Koelker said that this new design of the library will allow for more graduate student space, dissertation writing rooms and a small graduate computing lab.

One of the new rooms will be an academic heritage room, which will be designed to celebrate and make visible the academic excellence as a campus. The room will display the university mace, portraits of faculty and staff, and the Phi Beta Kappa Charter. It will also be used as a study room, said Koelker.

There will also be a special collections room, which will exhibit items from the vault. The last stage of shifting into the new part of the library is moving the vault, a protected collection of valuable and ancient documents, books, prints and writings, like pamphlets from the chapters of “Great Expectations,” said June Koelker, dean of the library.

“The university considers these things like the crown jewels and we are moving the jewels into the new vault,” Koelker said. “Special Collections will have a larger reception room with a conference room, where there will be some digitized collections of historical pieces like Dickens.”

Lutz said that the construction crew is currently working on the the saw-toothed pattern on the side of the building, pouring foundation, adding the beams, and the electrical pieces. Construction is set to be completed in fall of 2015.