Many spaces on and off campus compete for the attention of Capital University students, faculty, staff and community members. There’s the plaza and Reflections fountain, the quad, the Mezz, various Main Street establishments, residence hall lounges, the Rec center and more.
This fall, another venue will vie for the title “Best Place to Be on Campus,” when a renovated Blackmore Library opens its doors to the campus community and invites in the Bexley community through a Main Street entrance. Construction has begun on the transformation of the first and second floors of the library.
The vision statement developed by a University steering committee charged with re-imagining the library makes it clear that expectations for academic libraries have changed dramatically over the past decades.
“The Library should be a place where students can study, collaborate, access computers and printers, and obtain help from librarians,” the vision statement reads. “It should be a comfortable, light and bright environment with individual and group study spaces that enable future transformations. The space should be flexible and transparent, and most importantly, the Library should be a place where students, faculty and the community want to be.”
That vision has evolved considerably from the one that guided the building of Capital’s first library nearly 100 years ago. This passage published in 1915 in the first edition of Capital University’s yearbook, the CAPITALIAN, describes the newly constructed Rudolph Memorial Library — known today as Kerns Religious Life Center.
“Now, however, we have a library, and best of all, it is MODERN … with a capacity of over eleven thousand volumes, [Rudolph Memorial Library] is not only an additional utility, but a most beautiful addition to our campus surroundings. The very latest modern library fixtures are everywhere in evidence. The reading room is divided into six alcoves, each furnished with a table, chairs and stationery electric lights. The floors throughout are covered with heavy rubber linoleum. The system of lighting is semi-indirect. The bookracks and index cases are all of steel construction.
"… The Librarian’s office, furnished in regulation office style, lies between these two rooms. Two rooms in the dome have been equipped for archives, trophy and rest room. A large committee room for use of the faculty and directors has been fitted out in the basement.”
Today, academic libraries are shifting away from old models that support only isolated, solitary study and research, and amassing large print collections. They’re becoming campus destinations — the centers of campus academic activity. They’re transforming into information commons, open and modern gathering places where the free flow of ideas, scholarship, creativity and collaboration is enabled and supported by advanced technology and society’s ultimate research partner — the academic librarian.
With this renovation, Capital is positioning itself to meet new expectations, to manage the migration to digital information. And to meet student and faculty needs now and in the future. This year, the President’s Cabinet approved additional capital improvement funding of $500,000 for the project, bringing the total budget allocation so far to more than $1.3 million. The changes will transition Capital’s traditional library into a social learning space and information center, help promote the migration to a digital information center, and address accessibility issues and space limitations. More specifically, the following spaces will be impacted to create a new learning environment:
- New central Information Desk, with Circulation, Reference and IT Help
- New classroom spaces on the first and second floors
- Small snack bar with café seating
- New group study and collaboration spaces
- Six-fold increase in the size of the 24-hour space on the first floor and doubling the computing technology in this space
- New Career Development space
- Renovated Technical Services area
- Updated finishes and furniture
- Creation of new entrance doors from the quad
- Addition of a new building entrance from the Main Street side
- Redistribution of advanced computing technology between the first and second floors including exploration of new mobile technology
Furniture and office moves began May 7, and demolition and construction started May 14. With the help of the library and facilities staff, the first and second floor furniture has been completely removed, and all the second floor books have been boxed. That’s over 70,000 books and 4,000 boxes. Based on the average book size, if you lined up 70,000 books end to end, you’d get (conservatively) 535,500 inches of books. They’d stretch from 1 College and Main east along Main Street all the way into Reynoldsburg.
The boxes and shelves have been disassembled and moved to storage, and much of the newer furniture will be reused in the renovated space. Some of the furniture that was not upgraded or reused was recycled (four truckloads) through Habitat for Humanity Restore. Donated items include:
- 60 assorted tables
- 295 assorted stationary chairs
- 28 assorted rolling chairs
“The efforts to work with Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations to reuse or repurpose materials from renovation projects is something that we are integrating into all of our work in the Office of Facilities Management,” said Mary Ellen Turk, assistant director of Facilities Management. “It not only supports the principles of environmental stewardship but also has a social impact in our community.”
Office Moves and Hours of Operations
If the renovated library is to reopen in time for the start of fall classes, an aggressive construction schedule must be followed. Some offices have been relocated for the summer, and their hours of operation have been adjusted. Those who need to access The Schumacher Gallery, University Archive, Information Technology, or Reading Center this summer should use the west end entrance, which will have key card access only.
“This is a major undertaking, and it may cause some temporary disruption. We have tried to minimize this disruption, but achieving a better learning environment sometimes requires inconvenience, so we apologize for any disruption this causes,” said Dr. Terry Lahm, associate provost. “Ultimately, we’re looking forward to creating an improved space for learning this fall and to creating a new campus destination for our community.”
Library Office, Blackmore Collections
The Blackmore Library collection of books and materials will be closed for the summer and the library operations have moved to a temporary location in Battelle Hall Room 103. The library staff will maintain access to all online resources, including Ohiolink, Interlibrary loan programs, and closed reserve, during the summer months. In addition, the computer lab in Battelle 224 will remain open over extended hours for student access, and a reference library will be present to help with bibliographic searches. Temporary summer Blackmore Library hours of operation in Battelle 103 and 224 are:
Monday through Thursday – 7:30 am to 8 pm
Friday – 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
Sunday – 1 pm to 5 pm
Please contact Belen Fernandez at email@example.com for further information.
Information Technology Helpdesk
To ease access during this renovation, the Information Technology Helpdesk will be temporarily moved from the basement of Blackmore Library to the Lobby of Battelle Hall. All services will remain available over the summer and no changes in phone numbers and emails will occur. Temporary summer Information Technology hours of operation in the lobby of Battelle Hall are:
Monday through Thursday 8 am to 7 pm
Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm
Saturday 1 to 5 pm
Please contact Jeff Guiler at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Finally, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) as moved to a temporary location in Learning Center 100 for the summer. Summer office hours of Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm apply. Please contact Bruce Epps at email@example.com if you have questions about services that they offer over the summer months.
Track Construction Progress
Three-dimensional architectural renderings of this space are available for viewing in the lobby of Battelle Hall for those curious about how the final Blackmore Library space will appear. To track our progress and keep up on the latest developments on the library renovation and other major campus construction projects, please visit www.capital.edu/construction and watch the News and Events page, Facebook.com/capitalu and Twitter.com (@capital_u).