The Future in Retrospect: Getting Ready for the 21st Century
Syracuse University Libraries strive to provide a creative learning environment for all students, including collaborative spaces. Since its own launch in 2016 the Blackstone Launchpad has served as a central innovation catalyst for many award-winning ideas. Despite a general tendency towards centralization, the later 20th century also saw the perseverance of the King + King Architecture Library at Slocum Hall as well as the foundation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library at Sims Hall in 1971. A year later, when Bird Library had become the heart of the University’s library system, Carnegie Library as a result became a multi-purpose building, housing the Engineering, Life Sciences and Mathematics libraries, and also in 1982 the Mathematics Department and the Chemistry library. Bird, however, was and still is a busy library with a heavy emphasis on collaboration, and quiet study space became more and more in demand. Carnegie’s 2011-2014 renovation returned the building not only to its former glory but also turned its beautiful main reading room into a modern quiet study space with a historic flair, which not only allows for uninterrupted study but also invites students to contemplate this university’s long and accomplished history.
Information access to a 21st century library is not only a matter of digital and physical storage space but also of preservation. Syracuse University Libraries addressed these issues with the construction of the Syracuse University Libraries Facility. This facility offers climate-controlled high-density storage space for 1.2 million books and a large part of the University’s manuscript collections.
Student experience and student success are two major directives of the University’s Strategic Plan. The Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS), focusing on student tutoring and academic integrity, found its home at Bird Library’s lower level in 2017, while the SOURCE, Syracuse University’s new Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement, opened two years later on Bird’s second floor. The ability to perform original research is understood as an undergraduate’s most gratifying experience and considered crucial to their academic success.