Over two years after the fire in Hale Library, the second floor renovation is completed, expanding building access for students and staff.
Patrons are now allowed inside the building via the second floor entrance to study, use computers or just check out the new space, Darchelle Martin, director of communications and marketing for Hale Library, said.
“It’s not quite the grand reveal we had hoped for,” Martin said. “It’s definitely a little bittersweet, but still exciting.”
Originally, the second floor was supposed to open after spring break, but then campus was shut down to slow the local spread of COVID-19.
The floor features the Library and IT help desks, nearly 100 computers for public use, printers and multiple study areas.
The library is also following the university guidelines on COVID-19 precautions, which means that everyone in the building is required to wear a mask. Hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies are available for visitors to use to disinfect shared equipment, such as keyboards and printers, before and after each use.
Some shared items, such as dry erase markers or staplers, have been removed for sanitary purposes, but students are welcome to bring their own materials.
Textbook and course reserve checkouts are also available again, but items must undergo a 72-hour quarantine period after they are returned.
“The floor looks different than it did when we were initially ready to open back in March,” Martin said. “We’ve rearranged most of the furniture to promote social distancing, shields are up in from of the help desks and a portion of the computer stations are closed for the time being.”
Until further notice, the library’s hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and only a maximum of 45 people can be in the building at a time, per university restrictions.
Olivia Link, junior in life science and pre-pharmacy, said she’s excited to be back in the library.
“I spend a lot of my time studying in Hale — I’m really looking forward to seeing the new changes,” Link said.
As for how the pandemic has affected the reopening process, Martin said there haven’t been any delays in construction so far. In fact, some projects have been “fast-tracked” due to the absence visitors in the building the last few months.
The first floor, when complete in the fall semester, will feature a new cafe space operated by Housing and Dining. More details on the cafe’s opening and services will be available soon.
The rest of Hale’s floors will be opening all at once on a later date, Martin said, with the entire building anticipated to be open and functional during the spring 2021 semester.
Pictures and updated information can be found on the Hale Library blog.