Regenstein renovations nearly doneBy Jennifer Leovy
The Joseph Regenstein Library opened this quarter with $15 million in renovations, which by project completion, will have increased the librarys net shelf capacity by 1.2 million volumes and will have centralized user services.
At a growth rate of 95,000 volumes a year, the renovations will allow the Regenstein collections to stay under one roof for at least the next decade.
Martin Runkle, Director of the University Library, said housing integrated collections together encourages and enables people to do more complex work and to branch out. People working in the social sciences and the humanities can find most of what they need in one building.
Regenstein was built with 13 acres of floor space and a 25-year shelf capacity, an unusually large capacity that the library finally outlived, said Runkle.
To eliminate the need for remote storage, new compact shelving is being installed on the B level. Because the number of books will double in those stacks, contractors poured extra concrete on the B level to reinforce the floors for added weight.
Other significant renovations include a first-floor rearrangement that enhances customer service.
The whole first level really serves as a gateway, said Katherine Haskins, Head of Reference and Information Services, which has been moved to the center of the main floor.
Our new location provides a focus as people enter the library. People know were here to help them because they cant miss us. Our location is a great starting point that allows us to literally point and direct users to anywhere on the floor.
Library patrons also will enjoy one-stop shopping for most library services near the front doors.
We have relocated circulation, course reserve and interlibrary loan services to a consolidated area just east of the main entrance, said Jim Vaughan, Assistant Director for Access and Facilities.
And we have created a separate customer service station to improve our service to students and faculty. We have also expanded and relocated our Privileges Office to just west of the entry.
Behind the scenes at Special Collections, the renovations will be finished when staff work areas are completed and a new elevator used to transport fragile books between floors is fully operational. The elevator has replaced the original book lift we used to move books between floors, said Alice Schreyer, Curator of Special Collections.
It will provide safer and more efficient transport for our collections, especially for our largest books. Schreyer said the book lift could not accommodate large books, such as Birds of America, a 30-by-40-inch book that required four staff members to carry it up and down stairs.
Collection storage and retrieval also will be more efficient because of added compact shelving on the A level.
The collections that were located on two floors are now consolidated on one floor, said Schreyer. And two additional staff offices were constructed next to the reader services area, which means in-depth reference assistance is now much more readily available.
The library will celebrate the renovations at an opening reception Wednesday, Sept. 29.