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Library construction will resume in May

By Elianna Spitzer

Section: News

February 3, 2017

Construction on the Farber wing of the library will be halted until May 22, according to Interim University Librarian Matthew Sheehy.

The ongoing construction in Farber is a result of climate-control issues within the building. Piping will be extended from Goldfarb to Farber to better control the temperature in Farber. A main pillar in the mezzanine has doubled in size to contain pipes running through it. “There were times when it was very cold, and some of the staff wore jackets and there were times when it was boiling hot, and we had to actually move staff out.”

The library has remained open during the construction, though the mezzanine level of Farber has been blocked off. It reopened on Feb. 1. Major construction in that area is complete. However, work may continue above the ceiling tiles.

Construction started as early as four in the morning, according to Sheehy. The workers were notified of quiet areas and quiet hours. As of press time, Sheehy had not been notified of any student complaints about the construction.

The project to improve the temperature control involved installing two new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units on top of the roof of Farber. On Jan. 5, a crane lifted the units, forcing the library to be closed throughout the day.

Farber is not the only wing of the library to have undergone construction this academic year. The Goldfarb roof was replaced in a three-month-long project. The project began over the summer and continued into the fall semester of 2016.

The construction was unavoidable, said Sheehy. Leaks formed in the roof, putting collections in danger. Librarians used plastic coverings and fans to prevent mold blooms in the books. “We tried very hard to mitigate any damage that might have happened from leaks that were becoming pretty regular in Goldfarb,” Sheehy said.

Heating and cooling improvements and roof repair are just a few of the changes going on around the library. Three bike desks now reside on the first floor of Farber. The desks appear similar to excercise bikes in Gosman Athletic Center, but are coupled with larger flat surfaces to place books or laptops on. The decision to put bike desks in the library was made by the Brandeis Undergraduate Library Council (BULC) and the cost was subtracted from the library operating budget.

The council formed last semester and seats 10 undergraduate students. They have had three meetings so far. Students on the council were not voted into their position. Instead, they expressed interest and appealed to the librarians and Sheehy. “It’s been fantastic, a great group of students to work with,” Sheehy said.

BULC is also working on other initiatives in the library. They reached out to the Student Union to use the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) to replace water fountains. Any student or group on campus can apply for CEEF funding, which sponsors initiatives that have a campus-wide benefit and offer a long-term effect, according to the Student Union website.

BULC hopes to introduce a town center to the area across from the printers in Goldfarb. This would add charging stations, seating and ledges for student to read and write on. The timing of the project will depend on vendor availability, according to Sheehy.

Council members are trying to implement new types of seating and standing desks. “We need to see how the space could be used better,” Sheehy said. “There’s a lot of things that we have on our wish list,” he said. However, budget and availability will determine what projects are implemented this semester.

A “love your library” campaign may be a future project for BULC. The campaign would involve a student commitment to alerting library staff to food mess. “I’ve worked in a lot of libraries and the least successful ones are the ones that don’t allow food,” Sheehy said. However, it is difficult for facilities to clean up spills and waste if they have not been alerted to it. Sheehy hopes the future campaign may help reduce garbage in the library.

Changes in the library are about “moving toward services that students and faculty need to do the work they do,” said Sheehy. Ideas for library changes can be directed to BULC or any librarian.

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