Most academic librarians stepping into a position can model their work on that of their predecessors. But not Thomas Padilla. On his appointment in April as the first humanities data curator at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library (and the first in the entire University of California system), Padilla has had to draw on a number of different disciplines to shape his role of working with data throughout its life cycle, creating a support plan for digital humanities researchers, and providing research data consultation.
Through careful programming and design strategies to preserve the essence of the original building, the 2013 renovation of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle not only meets the demand for active learning environments on campus but further catalyses it. The renovation transformed the interior from dark, decentralized, and difficult to navigate to a light-filled hub of activity and stimulus for pedagogical change.
When the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh opened in 2013, it aimed to define the research library of the 21st century. In its place on the Centennial campus, sitting at the edge of a grand oval green space, the library connects two sections of campus, improves walkability, and anchors student activity across the represented disciplines.
The renovation of the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College in New London builds on a strong foundation of the past to nurture a new generation of students. Through judicious deselection, the use of compact shelving, and shifting and customizing the footprint of the stacks, the library was able to produce more study and collaborative spaces and keep the collection on-site. Thoughtful repurposing and creative reorganization epitomizes this project.
The updated James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), designed by Shepley Bulfinch, took inspiration from the original midcentury modern design and used it to transform the library into a campus jewel, embracing the school’s strengths in the arts. As one judge noted, the design was “executed with a very skillful hand.” Seeking to balance historic preservation with modern needs and heighten the library’s placement in a dense urban area, the firm reinterpreted many elements of the old building.
The 2016 New Landmark Libraries highlight academic libraries that are setting the standard for both new construction and renovations. These five winners and three honorable mentions inspire by illustrating the creativity, innovation, and imagination that can spring from even the most modest budget. The trends, ideas, and methods provide inspiration for other projects and efforts, large or small.
When the library at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, was built in the late 1960s, the student population was 5,000. Today that number is closer to 25,000 and the university has embraced a collaborative culture that fosters innovation. The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons gives students control over their environment to a degree rarely seen.
The dog days of summer spanned a large portion of August and though the calendar has turned over to September, they seem not to be about to let up (!@#$!#$!$$!). Therefore, I’ve been staying in the air-conditioned house whenever possible, catching up with work, and skritching the dog and cats–if not to their hearts’ content, at least much closer to the amount of skritching expected of me. Here’s a potpourri column; a medley of happenings and queries.