J. Paul Leonard Library Receives Renovation Revenue
Funds appropriated for library expansion
October 23, 2006 11:29 AM
SF State's J. Paul Leonard Library appropriated more than $116 million for renovation and expansion last month when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law that will do more than give the building a mere facelift.
The new state-of-the-art facility will increase in space by 34 percent, making room for an ever-growing book collection, larger study areas, an automated book retrieval system, and seismic retrofitting.
Following the lead of Sonoma State and Cal State Northridge, the Library Retrieval System is a storage facility that will allow more materials to stay on campus and be quickly available to students through an online catalogue. The catalogue is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any computer, on or off campus. Students will click on what they'd like to check out and pick up the book from a manned desk within minutes, without having to write down a call number or find it on the shelf.
However some students have expressed concerns over the new system.
"I guess it has its drawbacks, you're not able to physically look at something and put it back on the shelf," said 22-year-old history major Anthony Schwab.
The advantage, university librarian Debbie Masters said, is that the catalogue shows you beyond what's available on the shelf. Books that are checked out are included, and much of the information a student may need is provided, such as the title, author, number of pages, notes and, for some, a table of contents.
"I think that once people have experienced it … they will like it," Masters said, adding that the library hopes to eventually have a system that she likened to Amazon.com, where patrons can "open" the book and "look inside," all from their computer screens.
Built in 1952, SF State’s library withstood the Loma Prieta earthquake that occurred 17 years ago this month. Although four floors were closed because of shelving damage and the need for reorganization, the library remained open. Masters said SF State's library sits in a long line of CSU buildings needing earthquake proofing that has been put off because of a lack of funds and the need for the library to continue functioning.
"It was a known fact in 1995 that the building needed to be retrofitted," Masters said, referring to the year she was hired.
Introduced in early August by state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, SB 682 was signed into law Sept. 27, increasing the appropriation for preliminary plans, working drawings and construction for SF State's Library and California State's Sutro Library by $21 million, to the sum of $116,553,000.
The Sutro library, a large genealogical collection currently housed near campus will be moved, along with the Labor Archives and Research Center, into the renovated library.
Although all books will be stored in the Library Retrieval System in fall 2009, relocation begins for the renovation in 2008. Masters said “hundreds of thousands” of books will come out of storage and back on the shelf upon completion of the project, which is now planned for 2012.
Most current SF State students will have graduated before the new facility is open, however they will live with the construction.
“It can get pretty disruptive if there is noise,” biology major Ayesha Ali, 20, said.
Masters said a “buffer zone” will be created beginning next summer between the occupied portions of the existing library and the construction being done to create the addition. With a total 378,000 square-feet of space, a greater number of periodicals and journals will be available on campus at the SF State library, which ranks second in total circulation for CSU library collections.
The new building will also feature a central light well that will bring natural light into the center of the building through four floors.
"It will be nice to know what time of day it is," Schwab said, sitting under the florescent lights that now illuminate most of the building.
Other features to be added include new building entrances and renovated mechanical heating and ventilating systems.
“We have to live with the dust,” physical sciences and engineering librarian Caroline Harnly said, referring to the fact that the library will remain open during construction. “It will be exciting when it’s done.”
Information about the building project can be found online at: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/building/.
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