Library Report

Rian Fantozzi, Editor-in-Chief

Since the last issue of the Juniatian we were given a copy of the “Library Study” architecture report created by the architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht, which details the renovation plans to Beeghly Library. This report was produced in July of 2018. We have not been able to confirm that this is the final form of the report.

The plan presented within the report is twofold. First is a renovation of the existing library structure. Renovation may be too light a word as every floor’s plans will be changing dramatically. Secondly, an addition may be added that would extend past the current front facade facing Halbritter. Within the report a few things became very clear right away. The plans to renovate the library were rooted strongly in the need to create a space to become the “physical embodiment” of the new Institutional Learning Outcomes and the new General Education curriculum. This desire is not one used by an architecture firm merely to talk up their product but, rather one that took place “prior to the architect selection.”

A four-month study kicked off the process as the Design Team met with Hord Coplan Macht to determine the most vital aspects of the project. While all of the space needs, adjacency requirements, and the conditions of the building were considered, the Design Team held Juniata’s Mission “to provide an engaging personalized educational experience empowering students” in its mind. The needs of both the students and the more than fifteen thousand alumni body were considered.

It also became obvious that the role of the library would be expanding significantly. The first floor of the library would be a “learning commons” as well as a space to “house the library staff/reference offices & support spaces, the Quest Program [currently located in Founders], Content Tutoring, a Writing/Speaking/Presentation Center, a simplified studio [currently located in BAC] and the main print/plot center [the Print Shop].” A larger cafe would also dominate the first floor of the space.

These features seem to cover the priorities of the document, including becoming a “consolidated service point” and a “center of energy.” The one that seems to be lacking adequate protection is “quiet.”

While the second floor of the library is currently just quiet study, in the new system the second level would be far more multi-purpose. The report describes that “the second level will be almost entirely dedicated to group study, quiet study and library instruction spaces.”

The second level’s floor plan includes two experimental class room spaces as well as a production lab. Nine group study rooms (five seating four people and four that seat six) allow for some privacy when working on group projects.

The floor plans presented within do not show any clear way that sound will be reduced in the quiet study areas. Furthermore, there will be 61 group study seats on the second floor, compared to the current plan, which includes merely three carrels, and seventeen desks with side panels.

The lower level will be transformed into an area that almost exclusively houses the collection of the library. There will be an area for the general collection on normal library shelving. The remainder of the collection will be placed into compact shelving units. The current collections are housed on the first and second floor of the library.

The new plans include compact shelving units that are either pushed or cranked to reveal a pair of shelves. This means only one person can browse a compact shelving unit at a time. The floor plans contained within the diagram include these compact shelving units in the lower level within a dedicated space for archival collections.

The lower level will also have a hole cut into its center ceiling, allowing natural light to filter in from the first floor. Overall the building features a lot more glass and natural light. The building will also have a new elevator to make the building more accessible, another one of the priorities from the Design Team.

The Design Team has taken no clear stance on the extension on the front of the building. The addition would extend out to encompass the current patio in an enclosed space, with large glass panels giving it a very modern look.

This report was given to the Juniatian on the condition that the cost not be discussed.