From the second floor of the Charles Library, undergraduate and graduate music students in Temple’s Concert Choir serenaded a crowd with South African a cappella and Temple’s classic fight song, “Alma Mater.”
The library held a “Celebrate Charles Library!” event Thursday afternoon for the Temple community to explore the new library, which opened at the start of the fall semester. The library’s Virtual Reality Studio and rooftop terrace were unveiled to students at the event. Resources previously available to students, the 3D printing room and Special Collections Research Center, were also on display.
After the choir’s performance, speeches from Temple’s Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia, provost of Temple University JoAnne Epps, and Charles’s Library’s namesake, trustee Steve Charles, touched on the library’s influence to current and future students.
One of the interesting things about the buildings’ construction was that it was made for Temple students “who are as good and deserve the best as much as students at any institution in the world,” Lucia said.
The building is a dream, Epps said.
“Temple has always been about making the dreams of our students come true,” she added.
Craig Dykers, one of the founding partner architects of Snøhetta, the architectural office in charge of the production of the library, closed the series of speeches.
“This building is about life,” Dykers said. “[Libraries] are about life. It’s really easy to get cornered in your field of studies as a student and forget about life. It’s really easy as a faculty member to get swamped in academia and forget about life.”
Events and giveaways occurred on each of the library’s four main floors.
On the first floor, the Special Collections Research Center showcased rare highlights from their collection, like a Temple student’s diary from 1880, limited edition broadsides created by women in early 1900s, and visual footage of the opening of the Bell Tower in 1965, all of which is available for viewing to students.
“Students are always welcomed to come and use our collections,” said Kimberly Tully, curator of rare books. “As long as the lights are on, the doors are open, anyone’s welcome to come in.”
The studio also gave out 200 postcard sets of exclusive images handpicked from the collections showcased to attendees.
On the second floor, the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio allowed attendees to view and try out new virtual reality equipment.
“I didn’t realize I liked virtual reality so much,” said Alyssa Blocker, a senior international business major. “I feel like I’ll probably come [to the studio] a lot.”
There were giveaways with prizes like owl keychains, Charles Library magnets and 3D-printed owl figures from the library.
Temple University Press also handed out exclusive copies of their “Color Me…Cherry and White” adult coloring books on the third floor.
Students were given a photo opportunity on Charles’ new rooftop terrace on the fourth floor.
One of the main themes of Charles Library is sustainability, and the rooftop is another extension of that, said Sara Wilson, library outreach and communication administrator.
Students were given free organic lollipops with sticks that bloomed into cherry caramel phlox flowers once planted into the ground.
To close the event, poet Yolanda Wisher, a 2000 MFA alumna, recited an original poem, and the Diamond Marching Band performed outside the library’s main entrance.
“Our idea for when we planned the event was to kind of show off, to kind of sample to people what’s possible in the building,” Wilson said.
“Not every feature of the building is up and running yet, so we’re hoping to use it as a way to launch and educate people about what will eventually be possible.”