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Saturday, May 28, 2022
UW-Madison Libraries' "master plan" calls for a significant restructuring of Memorial Library.

UW-Madison Libraries' "master plan" calls for a significant restructuring of Memorial Library.

UW-Madison plan envisions new library, significant remodel of Memorial

If UW-Madison Libraries sticks to its “master plan,” the school will see a new south campus library and a significant restructuring of Memorial Library within the next 20-25 years.

The proposal, formerly announced last week after a year-long planning process, calls for a “hub” library system, in which a number of smaller, specialized libraries would be consolidated into a few larger libraries.

The plan creates six hubs, anchored by six libraries: College, Steenbock, Memorial, Ebling, Law and the new south campus library.

This new library is a “general vision,” according to Carrie Kruse, the director of College Library, rather than a specific plan. The library would not be built until a couple decades from now.

“The important thing that our master plan does is signal that we have a library presence and a library hub in that expanded south part of campus,” Kruse told The Daily Cardinal.

UW-Madison envisions the library as “part of a building that also housed other things,” similar to College Library, Kruse said.

In addition to the new library, the school hopes to significantly remodel a few of its existing buildings, especially Memorial Library. A press release invites readers to imagine a “completely reconstructed Memorial Library that preserves the historic core of the building while replacing many book stacks with optimized user spaces.” College and Steenbock Libraries would also see changes under the plan.

Although the master plan more specifically outlines the way small, single-discipline libraries will be consolidated into larger libraries, the university has long had plans for such a consolidation. Kruse said while there are some benefits to having many single-discipline libraries, “it’s also a lot to maintain.”

“The idea of a hub is you pull together a more interdisciplinary approach,” Kruse said.

UW-Madison Libraries presented the master plan to campus leadership groups in November, and will hold open presentations on Dec. 7. Interested parties can hear more about the plan at Memorial Library from 12 to 1 p.m. on that date or at Steenbock Library from 4 to 5 p.m. 

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