Emory Libraries tackle multiple summer improvement projects

Published 07-30-2015

by Maureen McGavin

An image of what the Emory-Georgia Tech Library Service Center is projected to look like. Credit: Image courtesy KSS Architects.

Summer is a time for construction and remodeling at Emory University, and the Emory Libraries are working through a list of improvements, including two major projects. Most of the projects will be completed in time for the start of fall semester.

“Our goal in the implementation of these projects is to create comfortable, technology-rich learning environments that will provide our user communities with resources and tools for transformative teaching and research,” says University Librarian Yolanda Cooper. “These spaces will enhance their library experience and provide the best possible home for our collections and resources.”  

MARBL public space renovation
Stack tower Level 10, Woodruff Library

The most visible project on the main campus is the major renovation of the public spaces of the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), on Level 10 of the Robert W. Woodruff Library. Renovation began in May 2014 and is expected to be finished in time to reopen the floor for the fall 2015 semester. Improved reading room space for researchers, new classrooms for instruction, and a multipurpose room for events are just a few of the features that will debut soon. More detailed news is forthcoming.

Library Service Center
Emory Briarcliff property

The largest project, currently under construction on Emory’s Briarcliff property, is the Library Service Center. This offsite storage facility, operated jointly by the libraries of Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology, will house a shared collection of books and other materials. Once move-in begins (projected in December), the goal is that the process has as little adverse impact as possible on retrieval and delivery services for patrons. The project continues on schedule for its planned opening in early spring 2016. Updates will be provided as the project progresses.

In addition to these major initiatives, several other projects slated for this summer will expand and enhance services and spaces for students and faculty in various Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) locations around campus.

The Science Commons, now open in the new Atwood Chemistry addition, includes a library service desk, soft seating, and group study areas open to a four-story atrium. Credit: Emory Libraries.

Science Commons
Atwood Chemistry Center

The Atwood Chemistry Center addition and renovation project, scheduled to open in time for the start of fall 2015 semester, includes 70,000 square feet of new space and 40,000 square feet of renovated space. A four-story atrium connects the existing building with the new construction, and provides abundant natural light to the Science Commons, on the second floor at the lowest level of the atrium. In addition to open study space featuring soft seating with built-in charging outlets for mobile devices, the Commons offers study rooms, two conference rooms, a large technology-enabled classroom, and a Highland Bakery café.

The Library will staff a service desk in the Science Commons, along with self-checkout for a small collection of essential items. Printing will be available for laptop users. Library staff and collections will move in during July.


Music & Media Library, Lobby Level 4, Woodruff Library

MediaLab will give students access to tools for creating audio and video, web, graphic design and 3-D projects. The audio and video editing and post-production capabilities of the space complement the recording and production equipment available for checkout at the Music & Media service desk, which includes Canon HD video cameras and digital still cameras, tripods, digital audio recorders, microphones and webcams. MediaLab will include 18 student workstations, one staff/instructor workstation, large-format and standard-format color printers, and a projector for instruction. The Lynda.com stations, which offer free video tutorials on various software programs through the library’s licensing agreement, will also move into the MediaLab space from their current location on Level 2 in the Learning Commons.

Student Technology Support (STS)

Level 1 Learning Commons, Woodruff Library

Student Technology Support is a free service for Emory students, providing technical support and assistance for a variety of issues on student-owned devices, including EmoryUnplugged wireless setup and game console registration. For serious problems, students can check in their computers for virus or spyware removal. STS will move from the Computing Center at Cox Hall to Woodruff Library Level 1, just past Peet’s Coffee and Tea.

Computing Center at Cox Hall renovations

Level 2, Cox Hall

Student Technology Support’s move to the Woodruff Library releases space for TechLab to provide facilities for students to use emerging technologies, which are evaluated for use in academic life. The lab includes 3-D printing and scanning and will soon support makerspace activities – allowing students to create projects using tools to which they normally may not have access.

In addition, an expanded student area has been created from the space once occupied by Classroom Technology, which moved to the Woodruff Library last year. This relaxed study zone will be furnished with whiteboards and comfortable seating.

For media inquiries, contact: