Welcoming a New Library Environment

Welcoming a New Library Environment
Jenny James Lee
June 30, 2015

Students began using the new reading room on the second floor of W. W. Hagerty Library during the first day of spring quarter finals – no ceremonious invitation was needed as they began to fill the space in the early morning hours.

The renovation transformed an administrative conference room and a staff-break room, hidden from public view, to create a highly visible room designed to attract and stimulate focused individual learning. Several specific elements of the physical space and furnishings were intentionally incorporated in the design to create this new library environment.

Glass replacement of drywall to define walls surrounding the stairwell and facing the rest of the second floor allows more natural light to enter the library. Attractive millwork confines individual work areas in front of windows facing Market Street. Comfortable modern high-back chairs invite lengthy escapes into reading, while the chair base permits the reader to turn 360 degrees and change perspective for a different view. Other chairs introduce lower seating around a set of tables for “study along” activities, and a set of chairs along a wall, each equipped with plugs, ensure upright seating with small movable work surfaces. Fabrics continue gray, black and white color pallets used elsewhere in the building, with pops of red and orange echoing the steps. Students will have a total of 25 new seats, more natural light and a lovely “quiet” area to study.

After commencement, workers came back to finish punch list items. The former administrative suite has been reorganized to make better use of the existing space and provide a flexible administrative hospitality space for library guests and staff.

An excellent team of people made this renovation happen. There were minimum disruptions, considering both demolition and construction occurred in this high traffic area that is used by students long hours. I especially appreciate Gail Holmes and Alexine Cloonan [Drexel Facilities, Planning and Design], Purdy O’Gwynn Architects, Bittenbinder contractors, and Ann Yurcaba, Libraries Director of Administrative Services, for pulling this all together.

Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD
Dean of Libraries