Changes coming to the Harold B. Lee Library

Nicole Peterson
Tape ropes off a section on the main floor as BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library undergoes construction. (Nicole Peterson)

Read and listen to a Portuguese translation of this story.

A first edition Book of Mormon, a vinyl record exhibit and more study areas are some of the new features coming to the Harold B. Lee Library this summer.

The Harold B. Lee Library is undergoing significant renovations which include new group study rooms, a new central circulation desk, new furniture, more study space for students and new exhibits. Most of the renovations should be finished by the end of the summer. Other larger projects, like the shuffling of office space and book storage, are expected to be finished in a year.

“The way students study has changed. A lot more people (are) using laptops and things now,” said Roger Layton, library communication manager. “Students wanted more light, they wanted more space and they definitely wanted more outlets.”

An empty display case sits ready for the first edition Book of Mormon, coming soon to the library. (Nicole Peterson)

In a few weeks, said Layton, a first edition Book of Mormon will be coming to level two, just inside the doors to the reading room. Although the book isn’t there yet, you can see the display case now by pressing the button on the front to see through the glass.

Visitors to the library will soon be able to explore the “Wax, Shellac, and Vinyl” exhibit located just past the security desks on the main floor. The exhibit is about the history of recording. Guests can view album art or listen to records on the turntable while relaxing on the couch. Layton said to watch out for hidden “easter eggs” in the exhibit.

A record player sits on a counter in the new vinyl record exhibit in the library, which is currently under construction. (Nicole Peterson)

Already, students can head up to the north side of level four to try out the new seating options. You can sit on wavy benches or modular seating, and try out the new study desks and study bars. “We’re trying to find out what students prefer,” said Layton.

Ten new glass-walled group study rooms will be added on the south side of level two, five of which will be finished by the end of the summer. In total, there will be fourteen new study rooms completed by fall.

On the main level, the circulation and help desks will be combined into one desk near the front of the library. Layton said this should be finished before fall semester. More study space will also be added on the main level.

Within a year some of the other services in the library will be shuffled around, although Layton says most students probably won’t notice the changes. Book repair and programming are moving down to level two, leaving more naturally-lit study spaces for students on level three. Some book shelves will be removed and placed in the compact book storage area on the south end of level one.

Some of the new glass group study rooms under construction on the second floor of the library. (Nicole Peterson)

Despite the increasing popularity of digital reading materials, according to Layton, library attendance is going up. “I think people are looking for a quiet, sort of neutral space,” he said. “There’s an amazing demand for quiet spaces.”


One place in the library students can’t go is the book repair and conservation lab. Listen below to take an audio tour of this little-known library facility. 

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