April 20, 2018

Ohio State Begins Library Renovation

By LJ Staff

After years of planning and massive fundraising, Ohio State University’s (OSU) ambitious $105 million renovation and library construction project is about to begin. The university will use two firms to move the library collections and offices in preparation for the renovation of the William Oxley Thompson Library, which will close this fall. The project is set for completion in 2009. The main library’s 1.5 million books, meanwhile, will be dispersed mainly to three sites. The bulk of the collection will be housed in a "swing space," equipped to handle the general stacks at a university facility about two miles off-campus. That space will also provide seating for about 200; bus service will connect it to the campus. About 100,000 volumes, including the rare books and manuscript collections already moved, will reside at a nearby depository, while the other materials and journal subscriptions will stay on campus in Sullivant Hall.

The main library will close for nearly three years, so librarians at OSU will have to be creative in maintaining service levels for patrons. Joseph Branin, director of libraries, noted that that closing the library had some positive aspects, including a period to "reorganize collection locations, offer more outreach services and document delivery services, an opportunity to experiment with space design and signage in temporary quarters, and use new communication tools," including a "move blog." The project will restore and modernize the main library, with a focus on bringing back the unique architectural features from the building’s initial 1913 construction, while also creating a state-of-the-art facility. A 1975 addition will be torn down, and two new atria will be built.