I’ve worked in a host of library buildings that (oh, let’s be polite) need not just redesign, but some clear thinking around what works for users, staff, and collections in spaces where these three come together. And I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the planning and project development required in rehabilitating some spaces as well as moving some libraries into newly refurbished quarters (both made-over and newly purpose built). What one particular university library has managed to do during the course of just three summer months of gutting and re-invention (on a budget that is set to go up to the equivalent of $10.5 million US when all is said and done) knocks my fancy socks off.
Here are a couple of pictures showing what the main library at the University of St. Andrews looked like to the casual visitor 18 months ago. (If you're not a fan of mustard colored carpet that was laid down in the 1970's, make-everyone-look-sallow lighting or barricades, you may want to to skip these).
Last university term ended in May, and the library got to work right away: collections were shifted so that some access could be maintained, the building fixtures and furnishings were stripped out, and work commenced on resetting the entrance, reconfiguring interior spaces, and installing a brand new look and feel. And this is just the first of September!
Thanks to one Kirsty Ann Lee, even those of us far away can enjoy watching the historically rapid progress of all this rehab work. The library is set to reopen in time for the new term, later this month.