University Library's $1.75 million renovation off to a strong start

An area undergoing renovations at University LibraryView print quality image
A new study room meant for collaborative groups is just one of the new features coming from renovations on the third and fourth floors of University Library. The work is expected to be complete by finals week. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications

For a building that's supposed to be quiet, University Library has hosted a lot of clanging and banging this semester. 

One of the signature buildings on IUPUI campus, the library is undergoing $1.75 million worth of renovations on the third and fourth floors. But come May, all the racket will be well worth it as upgrades in technology, layout and space are being addressed. Besides, most of the current student patrons have earbuds firmly in place to allow for undistracted studying. 

"We've conducted a lot of research into how students have used our space, collecting their feedback on improvements they'd like us to make, over the past 18 months," said Willie Miller, associate librarian at University Library. "Where do they go for studying? What kind of amenities do they want in a study space? What kinds of spaces feel good and productive for them when they're studying by themselves or with a group? We're trying to make these areas a place for people and not just books."

Description of the following video:

[Video: A sign says "We're renovating!"]

[Sound: Construction noise]

[Words appear: IUPUI Presents]

[Words appear: Willie Miller, Associate librarian, IUPUI University Library]

[Willie Miller speaks: We're on the third floor of the university library. Behind me here is one of our new silent study rooms that will be for students looking for a really centrally quiet place on campus to be. We have two on both sides of our atrium, and in addition to being a great, quiet place for students to study, it's also going to help deflect noise from our quiet floor.

I have new carpet going in. In addition to being attractive, the red pieces of the carpet will help students see their way through the library. So, you can see here that there's a path going through the floor, in red. That will continue to be a way-finding tool for students as they go through the new areas of the library that have been renovated.

All right, so here we are on the fourth floor of the university library. What we have behind us is an area that's going to be dedicated to collaborative study and are pretty large and closed space. On the other side of the atrium, we're going to be creating a service desk for our technology assistants that we have here in the library, that will be used by students who are working here and by students who are studying when they're not occupied.

We have removed books that were in shelves here to extend the reading room around the other side of the library and another office that we were able to remove to give students a view of Michigan and the science quad area outside the library.]

[Video: A sign says "Pardon the noise."]

[Willie speaks: OK, we'll go down here and then turn.

Oh, that box is probably going to be where the new digital sign is going to be.

This area behind me is going to be our first set of study alcoves. They're going to be kind of like study rooms in our library. We have a lot of study rooms, about 40, and they're booked constantly, so we know that it's something that students really like.

What we're going to do with these spaces is to create something that feels like a study room but is more open and more serendipitous for maybe a group to be in the library and decide to come into this space and get to it instantly without having to do the advance work of booking a study room.

We've heard, in many different ways, that students want more space that feels like this. And I think our renovation is going to be doing that, but it's also going to have the new updated IU brand.]

[Words appear: IUPUI Fulfilling the Promise, iupui.edu]

[End of transcript]

The IUPUI University Library is currently undergoing a $1.75 million overhaul of its third and fourth floors. The goal is to create more space for students to work individually and collaboratively.

Miller expects most work, which started Dec. 14, to be finished by May 1, just in time for finals week. Tweaks will be made over the summer before an early-fall grand opening.

Built in 1993, the library was cutting-edge -- as sharp as Nancy Kerrigan's skates -- at the time, but 25 years later, it was obvious updates were needed. Smaller renovations, like the fourth floor's atmospheric Learning Center 3, have been completed over the years, but the current work is the biggest project in the facility's history.

Miller said the quiet third floor and the collaborative fourth floor are nearly identical in design. The project team's goal is to differentiate the two and offer students clear options for focused studying and group-project atmospheres.

Just under 1 million users come through the doors every year, so expansion was needed. Miller explained the details while hammers hammered and new drywall tape dried.

Third floor:

Exposed wall by stacks in University LibraryView print quality image
New study rooms near the stairs on the third floor will help deflect noise from the rest of the library. The third floor is a quiet floor geared toward individual study. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications
  • Two new silent study rooms will help control building noise for the rest of the floor.
  • 240 new seats will be installed.
  • More carrel desks for individual or dual studying will be installed along the level's perimeter.

Fourth floor:

  • More space for collaborative group study will be found in alcoves, which won't need to be reserved. Groups will be able to touch down and work instantaneously.
  • A new study space for graduate students next to the Arts and Humanities Institute will be managed by the IUPUI Graduate Office to help accommodate the growing number of Ph.D. and graduate students.
  • 249 new seats will be installed.
  • More bench-style seating will be installed to encourage collaboration.
  • Miller revealed there will be an expansion of the reading room near the "great, large window" for more seating and connectivity for laptop power cords and stronger Wi-Fi. The area will have better lighting and sunlight glare reduction.
  • Student study nooks will be created where office spaces used to be.
  • Living room-style study space and other group rooms in the atrium with soft seating, tables and chairs will be a major highlight. 
  • New study desks will be installed. 

Both floors:

  • More pops of Indiana University crimson will adorn walls, columns and new carpeting. 
  • Stacks were removed to improve patron circulation. The crimson in the carpeting serves as a path to help funnel visitors to study rooms, elevators and other important areas on these levels. 
  • The elevator core will become more of a library feature, with digital touchscreens and maps.

Designs for the upper floors of University Library.