On Friday, a group of us went to tour the Carnegie Library on campus. I really enjoyed the tour, and am excited to see how it will look after renovations!
One thing that I noticed, in relation to what we’ve been talking about in class, is the concept of space.The Reading Room, and work spaces are in temporary locations throughout the library because of the construction. The reference desk is placed in this small, cold looking hallway, that is narrow and awkward. That doesn’t stop them from doing a great job, I’m sure, but it really made me notice how valuable space is to be able to do everyday functions.
It was really amazing to see all of the stacks and reference material lined up on these green shelves, scaling all the way up the building. We walked up narrow stairs to wind up through the books. The librarian told us that those shelves could never be widened or removed because they are integral to the building’s structure. If they were taken down, the building would also fall down as well.
The library is building new math classroom spaces, which I think is a good use of the space by adding more spaces for those students to interact within the library. One thing that I found really interesting was their choice of where to put the reference desk. They are moving it to the middle part of the library. Basically, if someone wanted to browse through books in the new reading room, they would have to check out their books first before they could read them. She explained how, based on this library’s needs, most of the materials are online, so not many students browse. She also said that most students check out textbooks for two hours for their classes, and that’s mostly what they see, so this made the most sense for the use of the library. It was also interesting to hear about what they do with old journals, and to hear more about the storage facility.
I’m glad I got the opportunity to see a library mid renovations. I think this is something that many people don’t get to see. It was valuable to hear about the new changes, and why they made those decisions, all while keeping in mind the history of the building.