Walking into Carlson Library’s first floor usually earns a great sigh of relief from students trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the Student Union. Riding the elevators or climbing the stairs up to the next four floors usually provides even greater comfort.
“[The library] seems to get quieter as you go up to the fifth floor,” said Dave Remaklus, director of operations in Carlson Library.
But over the summer, that unofficial rule was broken as crews began working May 9 to completely renovate the third and fourth floors of Carlson throughout the summer.
The third and fourth floors will officially reopen on Aug. 18 with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the third floor of the library. The event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m., with UT President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu providing opening remarks.
“Everything really went well,” Remaklus said. “The whole construction process went well and there weren’t any major problems. It just went great.”
One major concern in the library that students have always voiced is the lack of individualized study spaces and a small amount of group study rooms according to Barb Floyd, interim director of University Libraries . Floyd explained that the issue stems from students who are working on lots of collaborative projects in their studies and have no where to meet,.
That is not a concern anymore, as there are over 60 individual study corrals and 20 group study rooms of various sizes added to the floors. Each coral desk, study room and regular study tables are equipped with electrical outlets.
“I just know that those spaces are going to be really popular and I think the students will use them a lot,” said Floyd “Really good spaces with white boards, places to plug in your technology and I think they will be very used.”
Remaklus and Floyd said that all the pipes have been replaced on the renovated floors, due to past problems of leaks, and the heating and cooling systems have been replaced.
“It was always a danger in libraries because water and books are two things that don’t go together well,” Floyd said.
According Floyd another common student complaint was the lack of lighting among the library book stacks and the less than inviting nature of the third and fourth floors. She explained that the new color scheme of blue and gray on the walls and carpeting gives the library a quiet and muted feel accompanied by new ceilings and lighting that has been installed to brighten the rooms.
“There’s kind of a feeling today in academia that there isn’t a need for a space called the library because everything is available electronically. I believe that it’s even more important than ever that there is a physical space called the library, where people can come together and they can talk to each other about ideas, they can share, they can communicate because while all of that can be done electronically or with a phone, is just different when you’re in a place that is conducive to that kind of interaction,” Floyd said.
According to Floyd, art students will work on restoring the paint this fall on the Rand McNally globe that resides in a new place on the third floor. The motor that allows the globe to spin will also be repaired. The globe has sat in several different places in the library since it was purchased in the 1970s and is one of only a few that still exist across the country.
The $3 million multi-year renovation plan, which is paid entirely by the state capital improvement fund, is split up into several phases. With the first phase completed, the next phase of construction will begin during this fall semester. New offices will be installed on the first floor along with a renovation of the first floor concourse. To finish off the project, outside work will be done, including installing large glass windows on the east side of the building.
Phase three will work to finish the renovations on the closed half of the second floor, which has been talked about since 2010. Floyd says that the common spaces with whiteboards will extend on to the other half and she says that the design fits the needs of the students. Along with the redesign, part of the renovation plan is to cut out a section of the second floor near the staircases and open it up to the first floor.
According to the plan, the library’s fifth floor, which was renovated in 2010 and cost $75,000, will not be touched during the construction project.
During the first few weeks of the fall semester, additional library events for students are planned. Raffles for prizes and a contest for the best “shelfie” with their favorite study spot or library book will be some of the activities.
“Once the students come back, we’re going to have a lot of activities focused on the students,” Floyd said. “There will be some raffles, game contests, just to get people back. To get students to come back and see what we’ve done during the summer while they’ve been gone and to get the freshmen in the door.”
To find more about events occurring in the library this fall, visit http://libguides.utoledo.edu/libnews