The Homer D. Babbidge Library is in the process of a five-year Master Plan that will physically renovate the library for the first time since the early 1990s, Jean Nelson, Head of Communications & Engagement of UConn Library, said.
The first phase of renovations occurred on Level 1 this past summer, which created various seating arrangements, studying rooms and computer stations, according to Nelson.
“It was always a busy floor but now that has magnified. Students love the various types of spaces from lounge-type seating to computer stations,” Nelson said in an email. “The group study rooms are booked constantly and we are seeing collaborative studying in the spaces, which was one of the design goals.”
The library has been open to responding to feedback from students and faculty using the new space and has made changes, Nelson said.
“The single most common drawback to the space we heard was the brightness,” Nelson said. “Over the winter break we removed dozens of lights from the ceiling to decrease the brightness and it seems to have made a significant difference.”
The next phrase of renovation is to work with designLAB, an architectural firm from Boston, to create a vision for the long-term planning for the entire library, according to Nelson.
“[Meeting with designLAB] will allow us to truly vision for the future. Since December 2017, designLAB has been taking tours and meeting with library staff and stakeholders to talk broadly about what they would like to see in the library, the services we provide, and what UConn’s vision of the future looks like,” Nelson said. “While they think about the big picture, the first construction goal for the summer of 2019 will be to renovate Plaza and B Levels.”
The renovations are occuring due to a need to modernize the space, Nelson said.
“The renovations will address the needs of all of the UConn community – students, faculty and the staff in the library. We are excited to be working with architectural professionals that understand the importance of the library to academia and have experience creating amazing library spaces at other institutions,” Nelson said. “The way that students, faculty and staff use the library has changed so dramatically in those years, and it has become a goal of the university to revive the space and make it an integral part of the UConn’s growth as a leader in research, teaching and learning.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.