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Pollak Library Opens South Side Entrance to Rejuvenated First Floor

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Clem Guthro, dean of the Pollak Library, calls them the front doors to the campus — and after years of closure — the south side doors of the Pollak Library are once again open to the Quad.

Since last week, students, faculty and staff members have been able to pass through the south side doors and take in the first phase of the library renovation. From those doors there is a new open atmosphere, a colorful welcome for the campus community.

“This is not just a place to study, not just a place to find resources,” says Guthro. “We have created a place where students can engage and create. By opening up the library, we are opening the campus community to the idea that learning happens not just through the solitary pursuit of research but the engagement of students in interactive pursuits.”

The first thing library visitors see is the openness of the space beyond the newly reopened south side. There are comfortable and colorful seating, tall ceilings, brightly colored walls and glass-sided offices greeting students to the Center for Scholars, the University Honors Program and the cultural resource centers. There’s an information desk where students can not only ask for assistance but be personally guided to where they want to go, be it to circulation, Titan Card or the Reference Desk.

“This reinforces my vision for the library,” says Guthro as he watches students mingling and studying. “This renovated area brings a different aspect to the learning process for all students.”

The new entrance and transformed south side of the library is part of a multiphase effort to not only repair damage from the 2014 earthquake that closed much of the facility from public use, but also to leverage technological advances and transform the facility to meet the growing and changing needs of the campus. The changes are part of the Library of the Future, or LOFT, a CSU systemwide initiative.

“Our aim for the renovation project is to adapt Pollak Library to 21st-century library practices and methods, emphasizing student learning and digital resources as laid out in the project program,” says Sarab Singh, director of construction.

Key elements of the plan include increased student reader space and collaborative areas, as well as added faculty space. The goal: best use of space with the most cost efficiency, while creating a social, cultural and technological hub for the campus.

Already completed is the move of the Faculty Development Center, Faculty Affairs and Records, the Academic Technology Center and Online Education and Training to the second floor of the library and housed together as Faculty Support Services.

The relocation of faculty services, as well as the Titan Computer Lab, means the library basement area can house more book stacks, which frees up space for more student study spaces.

Next up: renovation of the fourth, fifth and sixth floors. “The sixth floor will house the University Archives and Special Collections, as well as the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History,” explains Guthro. “The main focus of the fourth and fifth floors will be to increase student study spaces and to house some book collections. We currently have about 1,650 seats for students. My goal is to increase that to 4,000 seats.  

“There are more than 1.75 million visitors that come through the library doors every year,” he adds. “The library is the place they want to be.”

“With this construction, we hope to see the Pollak Library continue to serve the needs of the campus community for many years to come,” agrees Singh.