A Vision for the Library

Seven concepts guided the design of the building and its many spaces.

The first concept is Integration. A central atrium connects the former Science and Technology Library with the new construction that replaces the Merrill Library. The Atrium allows the two to work as one. It also serves as the crossroads of the Information Commons. Just as the atrium is the portal to the building, the Commons is the portal connecting users with information and integrating the more traditionally perceived library services and resources with digital technology.

The second concept is Interaction. The building is designed to facilitate collaboration, which is a fundamental part of learning and working in today’s environment. Spaces that invite and accommodate interaction are front and center in the building but are also found throughout. The more quiet and individual study areas are located on the upper floors and adjacent to the windows to take advantage of the natural light and great views.

Third is Flexibility. We have a range of study and gathering spaces that accommodate a variety of needs. Staff areas are also modular and flexible. The building can easily adapt to changing, future needs.

Fourth, Connectivity. The building is technology friendly and technology rich. It is wireless throughout. The Information Commons provides for the confluence of content and technology.

Fifth, Functionality. Spaces are designed around a purpose and the parts work well with the whole. We have a twenty-first-century library to serve twenty-first-century information needs.

Sixth, Aesthetic Appeal. The building is inviting and pleasing to the senses. It draws people in. It feels spacious, and with the soaring atrium and mountain views, it’s uplifting as a center of learning should be. The library is comfortable—a living room that contributes to the quality of student life.

And lastly: Engaging. In addition to having features that make the library a welcoming place, it is also a place of engagement with users engaging with ideas . . . and engaging with one another. As academic libraries reinvent themselves, their social function emerges as an important concept. An engaging library is a destination—a place where students want to be.

Integrated, interactive, flexible, connected, functional, appealing, and engaging—the new Merrill-Cazier Library expresses both spirit and excitement for inquiry and scholarship. The university has a library that is well prepared to serve the needs of present and future generations of students.

Text adapted from remarks given by Linda L. Wolcott[1]


[1] Library, Merrill-Cazier, “Marginalia no. 20” (2006). Marginalia. Paper 19.