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The Libraries Celebrates Hagerty Library Redesign – and the Drexel Students & Staff Who Made It Happen

November 1, 2019

In 2018, Drexel USGA officers Blake Brown and Cat Gotsiridze approached the Dean of Libraries with a proposal to renovate the W. W. Hagerty Library. The initial renovation proposal—affectionately called “The Library Initiative” by the students—identified student concerns about the need for more electrical outlets and a mix of updated places to work in the Library.

Dean of Libraries Danuta A. Nitecki welcomed the opportunity to reshape a part of the Libraries’ busiest location to directly address student feedback.

Over the next 20 months, the students worked with the Dean and other Drexel experts (including Ann Yurcaba, the Libraries’ Director for Administrative Services; and Gail Holmes, Director for Interiors, and Jamie Aguilar, Interior Designer, from Drexel Real Estate and Facilities) to develop a plan to renovate most of the first floor of the W. W. Hagerty Library.

Four women and two men stand shoulder to shoulder in the lobby of the W. W. Hagerty Library
Left to right: Cat Gotsiridze, Danuta A. Nitecki, Ann Yurcaba, Jaime Aguilar, Gail Holmes, and Blake Brown

“The students’ persistence and drive changed my own strategy toward renovating the Hagerty Library—to focus on refreshing the facility section by section rather than wait for a full renovation project,” Dean Nitecki explained. “Initially, Blake and Cat sought funds for library renovations through a student improvement grant, but when that process was met with delays, we decided to present their proposal to release capital funds set aside for renovations to the Hagerty Library.”  

Throughout the planning process, Brown and Gotsiridze considered furniture options, reviewed layout designs, and helped prioritize design selections to stay within budget, all while considering peer feedback gathered through surveys and focus group interviews.

Their ideas finally came to life in September 2019 when new furnishings were installed on the first floor of the Library. Several weeks later, on Oct. 28, 2019, the Libraries hosted a celebration to spotlight the new furnishings and to recognize the students and staff who worked hard on the project. More than 30 students, faculty and staff attended the reception, with onlookers watching and listening to remarks from Dean Nitecki, Brown and Gotsiridze from the comfort of their (new) seats.

“Blake and Cat learned that their peers wished to expand and upgrade the Library’s special learning environment, one where they feel enabled to study without distraction,” Dean Nitecki remarked during the reception. “They expressed the same sentiment their other colleagues over the past several years have shared—that there is something special about the library where students focus better when amidst others who have the same intentions.”

These were the driving priorities for the project’s success. The Libraries added 196 more power outlets where students can plug in their personal devices and 30 additional seats to the first floor, creating a better environment where even more students can study and work on developing life-long learning habits.

A view of the Hagerty lobby looking down from the 2nd floor
Drexel students, faculty and staff listen as Dean Nitecki describes the hard work that went into planning and designing the changes made to the first floor of the W. W. Hagerty Library.

New bench-style seating replaced the old hub furniture previously located in the center of the first floor, offering students more individual study spaces. The student officers also chose comfortable, soft seating and more versatile triangular tables for collaboration or working alongside others to replace the outdated rectangular study tables previously found in the space. New pinwheel-style carrels with power outlets and USB ports complete the changes. 

“This was an amazing project,” added Blake Brown. “Thank you to everyone who helped Cat and me with this idea. And a special thank you to Dean Nitecki, Ms. Yurcaba and Ms. Holmes who took us seriously and have been meeting with us these past few years. This is truly a dream come true!” 

See more photos of the newly refreshed space in the W. W. Hagerty Library in our recent photo essay.