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Saturday, March 2, 2024

UC Davis library renovation project in its early stages


Space Planning team works to develop future renovation ideas for UC Davis libraries.

How can the renovation of UC Davis’ three on-campus libraries provide new, unique studying and researching experiences to students and faculty? This is the main question that the Library Space Planning team is currently working to answer.

The University Library Space Planning Project is a large-scale, long-term renovation project for the three libraries located on the UC Davis campus: Peter J. Shields Library, Physical Sciences and Engineering Library and Carlson Health Sciences Library.

The project aims to incorporate a wide variety of new study spaces within these libraries to serve the future needs of faculty and students. These new spaces potentially include small group meeting rooms, classrooms, cafes and study lounges with comfortable furniture.

“Shields [Library] is definitely one of the busiest buildings on campus, as far as undergraduates go,” said Bill Garrity, deputy university librarian and chief of staff. “But it’s not really contemporary space. There’s no more casual, comfortable, hanging out space. So we’ve always kind of known that Shields, as one of the three campus libraries, has a lot of potential to be renovated.”

The project consists of three phases and is currently undergoing its first phase, titled “the Visioning Phase.” During this phase, the project team communicates with users of library spaces on campus, mainly undergraduate students, to understand the libraries’ current conditions and figure out how to support the necessary resources and services.

“The university is changing a lot,” Garrity said. “[There are] tons of new students, the faculty are growing, there’s more courses, there’s more research — the university’s just getting bigger and bigger. How can the library space serve that? That’s the purpose of Phase One.”

To accomplish this phase, several methods are being used for outreach to students, including the utilization of a smartphone app called dScout. With this app, students can take photos of their commonly used study spaces and share these photos, as well as notes and information about these spaces with the project team.

“A lot of [dScout] is just mostly trying to figure out what helps students study or what are things that distract students,” said Robyn Huey, a 2015 graduate in landscape architecture and assistant of University Library Space Planning. “Gathering that information through the app can help inform [us with] current conditions and where we can move forward from there.”

Aside from the dScout app, the team is also collaborating with a company called Brightspot to table at the Memorial Union, conduct interviews and create focus groups.

The second phase of the project, titled “the Programming Phase,” will consist of compiling a list of potential new spaces for future library facilities using the information acquired from the first phase.

The third and final phase is “the Designing Phase”; at this phase, the funding will be secured, and blueprints and drawings of the new spaces will be developed. Due to its large scale and high expenses, the project is predicted to continue for the next several years.

“It was just lately, with the growth and prominence of UC Davis, that we were able to begin the very expensive process to [renovate the libraries],” Garrity said. “It’s going to be potentially a $100 million project.”

The team behind this project is comprised of a number of committees, including a leadership committee of faculty and administrative leaders, the ASUCD Library Committee and a working committee of library staff and personnel.

“The previous ASUCD vice president was approached by Bill Garrity and the library in order to create [the Library Committee] that would advise on the new upcoming renovations for the library,” said Abhay Sandhu, a third-year managerial economics major, ASUCD vice president and Library Committee chair. “The most important thing that they expressed to us that they wanted was student impact [and] student input. Obviously, that would come through ASUCD — we’re the student government.”

Members of the ASUCD Library Committee work to ensure that the Library Space Planning Project effectively reaches out to students and receives productive feedback. The committee is comprised of 15 members as of now, but welcomes any students who are interested in having a voice in the project.

“The main goal of the committee is to bridge the gap, and have student representation when it comes to building the library,” said Simran Grewal, a first-year biological sciences major and chief of staff for the ASUCD vice president. “[It’s] basically a way for the undergraduate population to voice their opinions and pitch in their ideas regarding the library project.”

Although the project’s final completion date is unknown, the current Visioning Phase is set to be completed by the end of 2016.

More information about the Library Space Planning Project and how to get involved can be found on its website.


Written by Jennie Chang — features@theaggie.org


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