Miller Library’s Future

le renovations since 2013 and further renovations and improvements were recommended as part of a comprehensive report released on Tuesday. The report, produced by the Library Planning Group, was informed by the group’s own research and research done by Gensler, an architectural consulting firm.

In an email to students, faculty, and staff, Provost and Dean of Faculty, Lori Kletzer, released the Library Planning Group Report, a dissenting report to the Library Planning Group Report, and a presentation that detailed Gensler’s findings and recommendations.

The Library Planning Group was established during the 2015-16 school year following the recent two-year renovation of Miller Library. For several years many students vocalized complaints regarding insufficient study space in Miller Library, prompting the College to set in motion a major renovation of the iconic library, to be completed in two-stages.

Rob Weisbrot, the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor of History, and Paul Josephson, Professor of History, wrote a dissenting letter calling for a substantial increase in the total book collection held by the College and in the libraries. They criticized the Library Planning Group for ruling out and failing to consider the benefits of significantly expanding Miller or constructing an additional new library building.

The Gensler Report, which guided the recommendations found in the Library Planning Group Report, offered both short-term and long-term solutions. In the short-term, Gensler recommended adding additional shelving to walls in Miller to increase access to the collections, a common complaint by library users throughout the study. This solution would allow for an additional 10,00-13,000 volumes to be held in Miller according to PPD. The Library Planning Group saw this change as purely nominal and was “unconvinced of the value of these options.”

The long-term options presented by Gensler were far more radical. The recommendation called for the relocation of the current academic offices in Miller in order to allow the building to undergo a massive renovation. The renovation would in essence gut the building, allowing for critical facility updates and a complete reorganization of stacks, study spaces, and offices. The Library Planning Group commented that the available long-term options were hindered by College resources and priorities, but that the College could make strides in other areas that can be carried out over the long-term, such as increasing the size of the library acquisition budget, and increasing the number of library staff.

The Library Planning Group will be hosting multiple forums, open to community members, on February 13 and February 15. In addition, Kletzer noted that the March Faculty meeting will include discussion of the report and attempt to solicit feedback from faculty.

 

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