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Western Libraries' staff set up booth and posters in the UCC atrium on Feb. 28 to invite community input on future on-campus library plans.

Library staff set up a booth to inform students and faculty alike about a 25-year master plan that envisions more modern library facilities at Western. Western has hired the architecture firm Perkins+Will to draft the plan. 

According to Richard Kirk, manager of facilities operations and records centre services and the co-chair of Western Libraries space master plan, Western has done well in renovating its libraries to meet immediate needs. However, Western Libraries’ staff are looking for changes and modernization on a grander scale, especially for D.B. Weldon Library.

Key to the master plan will be making the mezzanine level of Weldon fully accessible to students. 

“Currently it’s being used for staff,” Kirk said. “We want to open it up for students and move the staff into other areas of the building which are less populated.” 

The plan, which is still susceptible to change, also envisions the construction of several new group study spaces and labs with interactive digital features within Western Libraries.

Unfortunately for current Western students, the bulk of Western Libraries’ master plan won’t be brought to life during their time at Western. According to Kirk, this was a key gripe expressed by students that visited the booth that day. 

However, Kirk made sure to remind students visiting the booth that significant renovations at Allyn and Betty Taylor Library are already underway. 

“Taylor [Library] is in a working phase of renovation,” Kirk said. “We did the main floor and this summer we’re doing all new flooring and painting on the ground floor.”

In addition to informing students about coming changes, the event sought to gain student input on what Western Libraries could do better to enhance their educational experience. Kirk insists that student input is invaluable to this project, even if it won’t directly affect the lives of the students giving it. 

“This particular event shows you that we’re very interested in engaging the students,” Kirk said. “So we have to make sure that everything we do is in line with what they need and what they’ll get out of the space.”

As the plan progresses, Western Libraries staff will be placing posters outlining the plan throughout Weldon and other affected facilities.

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