A south entrance to the Harold B. Lee Library is under construction and should be completed this fall, library officials announced this week.
The soft-seating area at the south end of the HBLL will be transformed into a new entrance, and the honors reading room will become the new faculty center. Students and faculty members have made request for years for a south entrance, said Roger Layton, communication manager of the HBLL.
“It has been the top request for years, but it is not a cheap thing to do,” Layton said. “But with the relocation of the faculty center and the ability to adjust the entrance for the other faculty support things, it made a lot of sense to make it accessible.”
The library administration office expects the new entrance to be popular and knows it may increase traffic flow in the library. With the new traffic flow, there is expected to be more noise, and library officials are looking for new ways to provide quiet that students may be looking for.
“The reading room on Level 2 is very popular for quiet study, and the students mostly self-maintain that; they keep it quiet. So that is a great place for students looking for quiet,” Layton said.
When the building was originally built, it had a south entrance, Layton said. Additions were made to the building in the 1970s, but the south entrance remained. About 15 years ago, when underground construction was being completed, the university needed more classrooms on campus and added them to the south end of the building, which resulted in the loss of the south entrance.
“Ever since then there has been interest in it,” Layton said. “Students have asked for years and years.”
With the addition of the faculty center and other resources like the multimedia center on the fourth floor, Layton said that the addition of the south entrance was a clever move by the university.
“It would be horrible to put all these resources in a hard-to-get-to place in the library, so suddenly a south door became an easy to solution to give a lot of people great access to great services,” Layton said.
The addition of the south entrance will include monitor gates, identical to the north entrance, and a security desk. The library administration office is also looking into placing a new help desk on the south end of the library for convenience. The project should be completed before students return in the fall, Layton said.
Layton said the biggest concern in the library is always the noise and creating a nice study environment. On the second floor of the library they have installed a public music area in order to diffuse noise coming from the stairs.
“We know there is a core of students who like quiet but not too quiet, and so we have this public music area that is a good transition area, and we hope that it diffuses the noise from the stairs,” Layton said.
The library administration office expects students and faculty members alike will enjoy the new entrance and the access it will give to many great resources, Layton said.
“It’s a great solution for access. We are happy, we think the administration are happy, we think the faculty are happy and we know the students are happy. So it’s good times for the library,” Layton said.