When thinking about the University Library, quiet study spaces and the peaceful ambience of rows of bookstacks likely come to mind. But as students departed for winter break in December, the mechanical hum of power tools swelled through the stairwells, followed by the veritable clanging-and-banging of steel shelving meeting the floor. Why the commotion? The Libraries are planning a full-scale redesign of the Current Periodicals Room.
Rendering of Current Periodicals Room set up theatre style
Located in the basement of the University Library—adjacent to the Lower Level Lab—the Current Periodicals Room housed the latest installments of trade journals, scholarly publications, as well as mainstream newspapers and magazines. While once a staple of any library, these reading rooms became something of a novelty in recent years, as most of these periodicals were made available online. Capitalizing on this trend, the Libraries took initiative to reimagine the area as a modern, multi-purpose space.
Deborah Bernnard, Director of Public Services, explained the thought process behind refurnishing the room. "Current issues of print periodicals were shelved in a big well lit room adjacent to the Lower Level Lab. As the need for housing these items decreased, the libraries seized the opportunity to repurpose and refresh this room. We are looking forward to a modern, bright and cheerful space in which we can hold library and student sponsored events. When not in use for event space, the room will be configured so that students will be able to use it as a comfortable, spacious, study space."
Interim Dean Carey Hatch and Provost Kim survey the empty Current Periodicals Room ahead of renovations
“The refreshed Periodicals Room has opened a great opportunity for the University Library to provide a flexible student space to broaden the Library portfolio and enhance the student experience,” said Jason Kersch, Director of Campus Planning. “The refresh will include new carpet, window treatments, painting, and flexible furniture arrangements.”
Gifts made by generous supporters funded the renovation project. Naming the room remains an option and will be taken into consideration.
The project will be completed in time for the University Showcase on April 27th, where the space will, in the words of Mr. Kersch, be perfect to “highlight student academic excellence through research, presentations and exhibitions.”