Waldo Library opens with fresh look, new technology

Contact: Sara Volmering
Photo of librarian Juliana Espinosa moving a cart of books with a man standing behind her.

Librarian Juliana Espinosa helps move books back into renovated space at Waldo Library.

KALAMAZOO. Mich.--The first floor of Western Michigan University's Waldo Library will re-open this fall with a new, fresh look featuring energy-efficient lighting, new ceiling tiles and contemporary carpeting. Reconfigured shelving will improve accessibility to the collection, which is also on the first floor. New public computers on the first floor will include solid state drives and will be faster than previous machines.

An open house is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, to view and celebrate the refreshed spaces of the library's most highly used floor. Snacks and prizes will be provided at the project's opening, marking the completion of the most significant renovation to Waldo Library since the 1991 addition to the original structure.

The four-month project was completed over the summer to reduce the impact on students. The 65,000-square-foot project will be completed for the fall semester. The project's complexity increased significantly due to the size of the book collection located on the first floor. Thousands of items were moved and stored to clear the space for carpet and lighting installation. Library users were encouraged to use interlibrary loan services to borrow items that were unavailable due to construction.

Over the past two years, the University Libraries has engaged in several projects on the first floor to create more space for students to collaborate, study and learn in the Libraries.

"The renovation project continues the first-floor refresh we've been undergoing in phases over the past two years. We've added new, flexible furniture; updated and reconfigured technology; and opened the Bookmark Café with WMU Dining Services," says Julie Garrison, dean of University Libraries.

To encourage active student learning and improve their experience, the libraries altered the layout of the first floor. Computers and printing stations were consolidated to make them easier to find and use. New additions include a variety of seating and tables that can be configured for group or individual use and whiteboards and portable video screens for collaboration.

Photo of employees moving boxes back onto shelves in the renovated service desk area of Waldo Library.

Waldo Library's renovations include energy-efficient lighting, new ceiling tiles, contemporary carpeting and reconfigured shelving.

"This project will pull together all of this work and make our heaviest trafficked floor an inviting, fresh space for students to study, meet with groups, access technology, and experience everything the University Libraries has to offer," Garrison adds.

The centralized service desk continued to operate during renovations with only a brief, two-week closure while construction crews worked in their areas. All services continued to be available throughout the entire project with staff operating out of temporary work areas when necessary.

The project completion coincides with the distribution of new public computer stations throughout the first floor and computer classroom A. In addition, the front entry of Waldo Library is being upgraded with specially designed, high-track carpeting by the Facilities Department to best handle Michigan weather.

Visit the construction blog for photos and more information at https://waldofirstfloorproject.blogspot.com/.

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