Washington and Lee Library

Library Renovation Project

The Leyburn Library has been on the University’s “short list” for a renovation for some time, the first substantive discussions having begun in 2004. With the number of other critical building projects that are also under consideration, however, there was some question about the scope and purpose of the project. Everyone agreed that the building needed to be more comfortable and welcoming, and that technological facilities required improvement, but how much more was needed? Should a renovated Leyburn include other University departments, such as University Computing? Might an addition to the building include a conference center as well as additional classrooms?

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After two architectural studies, and thanks to the leadership of Provost June Aprille, we’re moving forward with a $2.5 million project that will focus on the Library’s main floor, and significantly improve study space for students as well as provide users with “one stop shopping” for their information needs. Library Technical Services, now occupying about one-third of the main level, will move downstairs, and the entire entry floor of the building will become public space, with new furniture, carpet, group study rooms, and a services desk operated jointly by the Library and University computing. The building’s existing entrance on Stemmons Plaza will remain, but a second entrance will be created on the side of the building facing the Elrod Commons. Planning is already underway with SFCS, an architecture, engineering and interior design firm based in Roanoke. If all goes well, we hope to see the project completed by January 2009, with Technical Services moving downstairs this summer.

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Over the course of our planning, we’ve had numerous discussions, both formal and informal, with faculty, students, and staff about their information and study needs, as well as what they are looking for in a library building. The bullet points below are a summary of what we heard from our own community, as well as general trends in new and renovated library buildings. Virtually all of these needs will be addressed by the Main Floor renovation of 2008/09. We hope to make improvements to the other floors in succeeding years, including adding compact shelving on LL4 to facilitate growth of the print collections.

From W&L students and faculty

General national trends in what users want Merrily E. Taylor University Librarian

*Images are conceptual and may not reflect the actual furniture or design in the final version of the renovation Error processing SSI file