The campus recently received the final submittal for the Main Library Building’s conceptual design. This document presents the campus with a “preferred option” for the redevelopment of this building, a preferred option that focuses heavily on the collections, services, and disciplinary expertise that have served as the hallmark of the University Library while also embracing the need to provide new services and study environments for undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars. Drawing upon the work of librarians, members of the faculty-led Library Consultation Working Group, and the input of hundreds of individuals who participated in workshops, small group discussions, and meetings over the last eighteen months, the document recommends a conceptual design that enhances the Library’s role as a partner in the campus’ educational process.
As a conceptual design, the document presents a detailed scenario to test whether the desired elements can fit into the existing and proposed spaces. The details of how that vision is executed, including the exact placement of departments within the space and the other myriad details involved in constructing a contemporary research library still remain to be finalized. For example, page four of the submittal notes: “Placement of individual Departmental Libraries within this floor as shown in plan is tentative and may be adjusted upon further evaluation of the programmatic and spatial needs of each.” What is not tentative is the Library’s commitment to departmental libraries and the services that they offer, to the role of disciplinary specialists in our collection development and management decisions, and to develop an environment that brings scholars, students, and librarians into closer contact on a regular basis. Your feedback will play an important role in how we make that vision real.
Once we have collected feedback and adjusted these plans in response to that feedback, we will engage an architectural firm to develop schematic plans to guide the construction process. Your input will continue to be critical: know that we continue to adjust these plans in response to campus conversations. We will, for example, be changing the placement and size of the departmental libraries in response to discussions at the October 10 Town Hall. The work of the Library Consultation Working Group continues, and we will have more Town Halls in the future. We also welcome feedback at go.library.illinois.edu/LBPfeedback.