Library open during renovation
August 26, 2008 6:38 PM
Students arriving at the SF State campus for the fall academic semester are met with construction for a massive renovation to the school’s J. Paul Leonard Library.
A seismic retrofit and structural, technological and functional improvements are under way. Construction crews are scheduled to complete the project in just over three years, and in the intervening years SF State staff are working to provide full library services to students.
“The one thing students need to know is students need to plan ahead more than they have in the past,” Debbie Masters, a university librarian, said.
The current library system will remain in the building through the end of October, Masters said, but must vacate the ground floor of the library Sept. 15 - taking the faculty reserves to the new site, too.
The library annex, where students can study 24 hours a day, is scheduled to move in early November, Masters said.
During construction, book pickup and reserves will be available in the HSS building. Masters said students could reserve books from the library and could be confident the book would be available within 24 hours of the request.
Staff will be retrieving reserved books for students on all weekdays, so Masters re-emphasized the importance of students planning ahead to reserve books well in advance, especially in anticipation of the weekend.
Masters said OASIS, the library tutorial for students at SF State, is updated continually so students will always receive instructions for using the changing library system. Even more important for student research, Masters said, was Link+. The database search system is available to students through the library and allows intensive research into any subject.
“If students are worried they can’t get the right book with the new retrieval system, they can use Link+ and find whatever they want,” Masters said.
Students will need to develop skills using these systems, especially those who will attend SF State beyond the three-year construction schedule, as the renovated library will utilize progressive storage technology for efficient book retrieval.
“The stacks are going away,” Mays said. The completed library will feature a storage area filled with rows of book-filled bins. An automated crane will retrieve bins containing the specific book requested based on a number system identifying each book. The crane will deliver the bin to library staff to pull the requested book for delivery to students.
The automated library retrieval system was first implemented at a library in the California State University system at CSU Northridge in 1989. The technology was originally used for database storage and indexing, but the efficiency and security was attractive for libraries with their immense collections of information, books and periodicals.
The completed library will be a major change from the J. Paul Leonard Library as it stands today. Robotic cranes, wireless networks and 50 percent more storage capacity are a far cry from the library finished in three stages 1952, 1959 and 1971, according to Wendy Bloom, campus planner for capital planning, design and construction.
“The new retrieval system frees space for reading and study areas, and more glass on the north side of the building that brings natural light into the interior and reveals the hub of activity within the library.” Bloom said.
“The library will be a central part of the campus,” Masters said.
Library staffers used the summer semester to prepare students, faculty and employees for a transition to several temporary library sites around the campus.
A brochure, mapping the future locations of each service, was made available to everyone in most buildings and distributed to almost 5,000 people at a welcome meeting for new students Thursday, Aug. 21 Masters said.
Masters said the renovation, which doubles the number of computers and triples group study rooms, is essential to meet the changing needs of students today.
“We’re constantly hearing we need more outlets,” Masters said. “The ubiquitous laptop computer has made power sources a priority the original architects of the library could not have anticipated. We need the group areas and study areas for students to use the library the way they need to use it.”
Chris Mays, associate librarian, said he was ready for the changes and looked forward to the renovations.
Mays said the inconvenience of construction was well worth the library SF State would have at its disposal.
The completed library will be able to provide a broader range of resources for students, Mays said. There will be better accessibility to hundreds of databases, search engines and primary source indexes.
“The Big Bubble,” also known as Library Annex One, will provide study space, computers, research assistance, periodicals and reference collections. The building will feature more power outlets than currently available in the library and study space for more than 300 people.
“There will be better networking and more workspace,” Mays said. “Better everything, from light to tables and chairs. Even better heating and cooling.”
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