November 17, 2017

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Academic New Landmark Libraries 2016 Walking Tour: Mary Helen Cochran Library, Sweet Briar College, VA

nllwalkingtourslugThe Mary Helen Cochran Library at Sweet Briar College, VA, stood out as a refreshingly traditional jewel among the newer libraries I visited. The stately 1929 main entrance faces a sprawling lawn that surveys the campus. A modern addition to the library in back has its own identity but blends well with the existing library and doesn’t disrupt the overall feel of the college. Entering through heavy leather-clad doors, a vaulted entryway and foyer lead to the centerpiece of the original library—the renovated Kitty Corbett Powell Reading Room. Dark wood shelves surround the room, while exquisite details flank the white columns and arches above. Upper level doors bookend the room, opening up to small balconies ready-made for orating to a crowd below. Traditional spaces throughout the library have been updated and given new life via modern furniture and have been wired for tech. The addition to the main library offers flexible space and study areas, with clean, modern staircases and furnishings. The space as designed honors the original library while expanding the capabilities of the library to serve the student population. Photos by Kevin Henegan

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