H-L renovations see the light of day
The renovations were designed by Ann Beha Architects of
Boston, and carried out by the H.P. Cummings Construction Company of Winthrop,
On the first floor, where high bookshelves and windowless
offices once bathed students in constant gloom, walls were knocked down
and stacks lowered to allow for better lighting. Lighter wood, new carpeting,
and more soft seating areas were added to create a warmer atmosphere.
The basement has also undergone a vast change, from improved
lighting and a soft furniture study area, to increased shelf space: the
result of newly installed compactable bookshelves.
The basement also boasts an improved electronic classroom,
doubled to seat 25 students at all new computers. A Bowdoin art class
also designed a brightly colored mural, which decorates one of the walls.
"I think what makes all the librarians so happy is
that students and faculty have this beautiful study space," said
Bergman. "We're very happy that all the refurbishing is done and
the seating will be a lot more comfortable and attractive," continued
Bergman, "and the lighting is also improved."
Beyond its external face-lift, the library now has network
jacks at every seat, each connecting to a faster internet connection.
Additionally, the library benefits from 25 new PCs and 4 new Macs.
Devices that will allow for wireless network connections
will be arriving around November along with more soft furniture for the
lounges and study areas.
Hubbard Hall, the College's first freestanding library,
served from 1903 until 1965, which marked the completion of the Hawthorne-Longfellow
library. Hawthorne-Longfellow library was previously renovated in 1980,
when overcrowding forced the construction of an underground connection
to the Hubbard Hall stacks. The connector now houses the College's collection
of government documents.
The Special Collections and Archives area also received
a face-lift during the recent renovations.
"It's hard to tell you how depressing [the Special
Collections] was," said Bergman. "It was pretty gloomy and unattractive."
Glass doors and panel-wood were added to bring in more light
and the office now has a spacious reception area.
In February, the archives will be rededicated in honor of
former U.S. Senator and Bowdoin alumnus George Mitchell. In 1994, Mitchell
donated numerous documents relating to his career to the archives.
As for future plans, the Library committee's annual report
stated that despite an increase in shelf space, the library's most pressing
need was an off-site storage facility for about 100,000 volumes. The annual
report also emphasized a long-term need for more space as well as a higher
percentage increase to the library's annual budget.
A Challenge Match Grant from the National Endowment for
the Humanities provided funding for $2 million of the $6.4 million cost
of the renovation. Donations from Friends of the College, alumni, various
foundations, parents, and individuals supplied the rest.
An open house on Friday, September 14, will be showcasing the library's recent transformation. The event will take place between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., featuring entertainment, refreshments, and tours highlighting the library's recent improvements.