Campus News

Public provides input on library remodel

Vice Provost for Libraries Ed Van Gemert and brightspot Director Adam Griff presented their plans for the campus master plan library remodel Tuesday.

Vice Provost for Libraries Ed Van Gemert and brightspot Director Adam Griff presented their plans for the campus master plan library remodel Tuesday.

Image By: Catherine Goslin

As UW-Madison prepares to renovate its libraries, campus and community members heard the latest updates to the project in a town hall Tuesday.

The primary component of the proposed plan is to combine 18 of the 43 libraries into more central spaces to better support research, as well as interdisciplinary and other campus work. The 20 to 25 year campus library facilities master plan also wants to provide specialized spaces and services for students and faculty.

“Your input isn’t just wanted, it’s needed,” Vice Provost for Libraries Ed Van Gemert said. “How do we rationalize a large, complex, distributed library system given all the transformations that technology has presented? We’re carefully examining how to best deliver modern library services.”

UW-Madison is collaborating with brightspot, a New York-based experience design and strategy consultancy that specializes in higher education learning spaces, to create the plan for the new library spaces.

Over the past few months, brightspot representatives have conducted interviews, focus groups, surveys and user experience workshops with students, faculty, staff and the public to better understand the current library system.

“There’s a growing recognition that spaces across the system are no longer transformative learning environments that support the way students and faculty work,” brightspot Director Adam Griff said.

Griff presented three scenarios of what the library consolidation may look like. In the proposals, the 18 libraries in question were sorted into four hubs: STEM, Humanities/Social Sciences/Arts, Foundational and Innovative Teaching/Learning.

Multiple attendees voiced concerns about the harm that this could cause to accessibility and proximity to relevant resources.

“One thing that I found missing in the framing of the question and conversation is the role of the library in the university as a whole,” Sarah Thal, an associate professor in the history department, said. “In terms of the university’s mission, what is the goal of the university that we’re trying to support?”

The brightspot team will return in May to present their final report and recommendations.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Cardinal.