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South Campus Library Facility construction on schedule

Changes to the Syracuse University Library system are moving along as scheduled. The South Campus Library Facility is the latest project for SU and is the largest piece to the library’s changes.

Since the groundbreaking ceremony in October, Onondaga County has approved the measure and shovels should hit the ground in about a week, said Pamela McLaughlin, director of communications and external relations at SU Library. SU has been working on the facility with VIP Structures Inc., an architecture, construction and development company. It is on course to meet its scheduled completion in mid-August.

‘We have worked with VIP and any number of times we see them as cooperative and competent,’ said Suzanne Thorin, dean of libraries and university librarian.

E.S. Bird Library is operating at roughly double capacity, which can lead to damaged materials on shelves. Once the building is completed, McLaughlin said the goal for the library is to operate at about 75 percent capacity.

The South Campus Library Facility, which will be located next to the Hawkins Building on Jamesville Avenue, is a high-density storage facility that will house materials that have online equivalents, have zero circulation or require special care.

Although most students will not use the facility as a functioning library, it will have an effect on the university community. Plans for updating Bird are in the works as a result of the new building’s construction.

‘There’s no true reading room,’ McLaughlin said, adding that it will be one of the key changes effecting students. Trustees have approved a plan to develop a ‘humanities reading room.’

These new facilities are a part of the library’s approach to adapt to the changing way students are using their resources.

‘A lot of the way students work together is in groups and teams,’ McLaughlin said. There is a benefit to students, as the new South Campus Library Facility will allow more space for materials and room for students to work at Bird.

But even though the building isn’t expected to be ready for occupancy until August 2012, the library staff is preparing now. There is a large amount of preparation needed to decide which materials will be sent, locating those materials and beginning to set up the system for requesting the materials once they’re sent, McLaughlin said.

Thorin, dean of libraries, said the additional space will not only help free shelf space and give students more room to collaborate, but it will also allow the research library to build a larger collection.

Because there has been no construction and no movement in the public eye, McLaughlin said, the reactions to the changes have promoted little feedback from students and faculty. But as these changes start to take effect, people will begin to see the benefits.

She said: ‘A lot is going on. It’s very exciting.’

ccrocket@syr.edu 

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