As the Fall 2018 semester begins, students are anticipating the completion of renovations that have been taking place at Mary Livermore Library since the commencement in May.
Dean of Library Services, Dennis Swanson, says the ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to commemorate the completion of renovations will be set for sometime in late September or early October.
“I think the renovations will bring several significant improvements to the library going forward,” said Swanson. “The library has not been gone through to remove unneeded or unused materials for over a decade.”
Swanson believes a removal of some of the old physical copies of bound periodicals would be beneficial to the “weeding” process considering “we have better access to these items through our online subscriptions.”
Renovations will add an additional 120 study spaces to the existing 250 due to more open floor plans and new furniture. The A-G and H-Z shelves, as well as bound periodicals, will be moved downstairs to “give a more logical flow to the collection so things will be easier for students to find,” said Swanson.
“I think the renovations will bring more people to the library and will make it easier to have classes in there,” said Bianca Easterling, a psychology and biomedical major. “The new design is more aesthetically pleasing and people might react better to the colors compared to grey walls.”
Although the main remodeling work began in June, Swanson has been advocating for these renovations since he began working at UNCP two years ago.
Stationary study bikes along with movable whiteboards have also been added to the study spaces.
Along with renovations to study spaces and floor plans, Mary Livermore is also making room for a new café downstairs.
“UNCP was one of the only libraries in the system without some sort of café or coffee shop,” said Swanson. “The old restrictions about eating and drinking in the library are passé and we will significantly modify those rules going forward.”
“I like the idea of being able to go into the library to study and not have to leave if I want to eat,” said Easterling. “I can just go downstairs, get a snack and bring it back up to study.”
Swanson believes these renovations will be a temporary placeholder for an overdue new library building.
“The Chancellor has made a new library/information commons building the next major capital project for the campus,” he said. “But even if we got all the approvals this year, new buildings take 3-5 years to complete.”
The size of the Mary Livermore Library building was projected to be too small “as long ago as 2003” for a university, according to Swanson. Carpeting in offices has not been replaced since 1997, and employee break rooms are not efficient for the faculty.
“With enrollment growing, we need to be creative about reclaiming the space that the Livermore Library building does have and using it more effectively,” said Swanson.
These are some of the changes to be implemented after the plans to build a new library is approved, but the new renovations and café will suffice for the time being.
Credits: Photo by Tyana Morris, Photo Editor