The banging and shouting emanating from the lower floor of the Sealy Library this semester are sounds not normally associated with the quietude of a library, yet these are indeed the noises that faculty, students, and Library staff have been living with in the Sealy Library for many weeks this semester. As part of the Haaren Hall upgrade, the Lloyd Sealy Library is also seeing a renovation of its HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system that will hopefully result in better airflow within a more comfortable range of temperatures.
In addition, as part of a plan dating back more than ten years, a new Special Collections Room is being constructed adjacent to the lower level of the Library, and will have its entrance from the Haaren Hall Atrium. Over the past twelve years the Library’s collections of rare books, manuscript collections, and archival materials have more than tripled in size, resulting in hundreds of linear feet of archival material and rare books being shelved in various locked cages and staff offices. When completed, the new Special Collections and Rare Book Room will not be large enough to accommodate all of our present and future special collections. However, we look forward to a better environment for our most valuable and delicate rare books, manuscripts and archives, and a beautiful state of the art exhibition space and reading room for researchers, as well as a workroom for archivists processing collections.
Unfortunately, neither of these projects can be accomplished without breaking down walls, demolishing old ducts, and cutting new holes. Although all of the noisy work was originally supposed to be completed during hours when the Library is closed, in the end this was not possible and construction has gone on into the early afternoon. Also, the demolishing of the old HVAC unit on the Library’s lower level was not immediately followed by the delivery and construction of a new HVAC unit, and the Library faculty and staff who work in the Library, as well as students studying in the Library, have endured weeks of high temperatures and noisy fans.
There is no firm end date for the work, but we trust that the noise-producing work will be completed by the end of the year, and that the final result will be a more comfortable library and a beautiful Special Collections Room. Then we can all turn our attention to the expansion of the Library Computer Lab area, tentatively scheduled for next summer…
Bonnie Nelson & Ellen Belcher