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Meeting held to discuss library

Administrators and architects meet to discuss features of the new library.

With a new library scheduled to be completed in 2018, Temple’s library administrators met with student representatives to get feedback on what students want in the building.

Andrew Simmers, a representative from the Temple Libraries Student Advisory Board, brought student suggestions to administrators at a meeting on March 5.

Dean of University Libraries Joseph Lucia and Associate University Librarian Steven Bell headed the meeting, Simmers said, and the administrators brought a design study of all the things they want the library to do. They compiled suggestions from the student body through Visualize Temple and looked at the designs of recently built university libraries around the country.

Most requests asked for longer hours and a large café to keep students in the library during late-night study sessions and more collaborative work areas, Simmers said. After looking at recent libraries, administrators found that many had painted lines to make the floors easier to navigate, a frequent criticism of Paley Library, Simmers said.

“The biggest suggestion was for more collaborative spaces,” Simmers said. “In Paley, there are only a few small rooms.” Additionally, students came to the board with concerns about research material being accessible at the new library, Simmers said.

Snøhetta, the Norwegian architecture firm designing the new library, has built libraries around the world, with some featuring robotic storage systems to hold large amounts of research data. Simmers said Temple’s new library will have a robotic system, with plans to house 1.6 million to 1.7 million books digitally and 250,000 books in open browsing.

The new library was originally slated to be built at a site on Broad Street, but Temple raised concerns that it would take the “anchor of academics” away from its central location on Main Campus, Simmers said. He added that the move would add a significant number of people crossing Broad Street to get to the library.

With the new Science Education and Research Center going up on 12th Street, the university chose to change its previous plans for the new library to replace the site at Barton Hall.

There are no plans as of yet for Paley Library after the new library is built, Simmers said, and two to three months will be needed to move books and research materials from the old library to the new one before the planned 2018 completion date.

As of now, multiple design firms are working on what the new library will look like. Temple will release the designs to the public this fall, Simmers said.

Before then, administrators will meet again with graduate and undergraduate representatives from the library advisory board to show off designs and make sure they are well-received.

Joe Gilbride can be reached at joseph.gilbride@temple.edu.

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