Much anticipated library second floor renovation draws rave reviews

The brand-new Idea Lab on the second floor of the library. The DeWitt Wallace Library unveiled a completely remodelled second floor that accomodates student demand for interactive learning and group study space. Photo by Josh Koh.
The second floor of the DeWitt Wallace Library has been reborn.

Books are by and large gone – replaced with open space, new furniture, new classrooms, touch screens, and makerspaces. The renovation, announced last year and completed over the summer, has been met with a rapturous response.

“The reaction has been very positive,” Associate Director, Access, Instruction, and Research Services Angi Faiks wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly. “So far the space has been packed, morning, day, night, and weekends. We are delighted by the response. It is even more popular than we expected.”

The changes to the library don’t stop at the second floor. The renovated library also boasts a remodelled first floor Reading Room with a fireplace, new furniture and succulents to provide a cozy space.

One of the goals that the renovation was to address was limited space for group and collaborative study on campus. The two new classrooms – open for student use when not occupied by a class – address this need.

“Because Level 2 released pressure on other spaces in the library we were able to loosen policies in other library rooms available for booking,” Faiks wrote. “We always have and always will constantly tweak library spaces to meet needs and emerging interests and will continue to do so well into the future.”

When it was unveiled last spring, the plan to redesign the second floor was met with considerable backlash. But as the redesign has taken shape, the furor has subsided.

“I do think people really needed to see the space to make sense of it,” Faiks wrote. “Explaining it just does not work effectively in a transformation like this. Even those of us involved in the project who had more details could not really fully grasp it until we saw it a week or so before the semester started.

“Now that people have seen it the reaction has been something like ‘Oh, I see now, I get it. Cool.’”

Staff Writer

Jennifer Katz (she/her/hers) is a senior from Atlanta, GA. She is currently a Managing editor. She has been on the staff since first year. She does a great impression of Queen Elizabeth II.

September 14, 2017

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