With the commencement of the spring semester, the renovation of Magill Library is underway. Construction on Magill began over winter break, though plans for the library’s renovation were hashed out much earlier, as the renovation appeared in the Campus Master Plan in 2009. Magill will likely be closed for three semesters before reopening as Lutnick Library at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, with the hope that the new space will better suit the Haverford community. In the meantime, Founders is opened to students as a study space in lieu of Magill.
“I really liked that Magill was maze-like because it allowed you to find secluded private corners to do work,” said Jack Morgan ‘21. “In the new library I hope they have more comfortable seating and causal study areas because that is where I work best.”
During the fall semester, the library was prepared for renovation and plans were made to address issues caused by the displacement of library materials and the temporary closure of the library. Books that faculty believed students were most likely to need were moved to the Science Library or to the Locker Building, while the bulk of the collection was moved to a warehouse, which students have access to via a call system similar to that of inter-library loans. In addition, student library workers will all be able to maintain their jobs during this transition phase, and hours should not be affected.
“When I heard Magill was closing, I was naturally worried about my job,” said Drew Cunningham ‘20. “Fortunately, I was able to find a position at the Science Library.”
Terry Snyder, librarian of the College, encourages students with any concerns about the library transition to contact her.
“Our goal was to create different types of learning and research spaces, from the more interactive spaces in Founders Great Hall to the pin-drop-quiet of the Reading Room in the Common Room of Founders,” Snyder said. “We tried to listen to what the apprehensions of students were in the new space and fold that in to a larger game plan.”
In order to address the needs of the entire community, librarians, faculty, administrators, and students have all provided input for the development of the library’s renovation plan. Along with infrastructural alterations, the new Lutnick Library will also include a café, additional group study rooms, and event spaces that can double as teaching spaces for students to learn how to find and critically engage with texts. Two new seminar rooms where students can look at primary source material in visible storage cases and view the library’s film collection will also be available.
“The idea with the seminar rooms is to continually push the rare collection out and allow students and faculty to interface with those materials,” Snyder said.
The new features of Lutnick Library will, hopefully, address the shortcomings of Magill, while retaining the beloved facets of the old library. Although the closure of Magill does give rise to some issues, the repurposing of Founders and the book call system seek to limit the impact of these problems, providing students with a temporary substitute for the lack of a library.