Swirbul Library embraces the digital age and honors its famed architecture.
Enter Swirbul Library, and you are struck by its open, light-infused interior. Its famed architect, Richard Neutra—an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright—intended that. Neutra “was truly a visionary,” said Brian Lym, dean of University Libraries at Adelphi. Lym has channeled Neutra in leading a renovation of Swirbul that harkens to his original vision while simultaneously addressing the changing demands on library space.
“My vision for the growth of the Adelphi libraries—as a digital resource—is that we’ll be acquiring more and more online,”Lym said. “That’s just the way of the present and of the future.”
To make way for the digital revolution and the interconnectivity and collaboration that it has inspired, the library has replaced the familiar periodicals shelves on the first floor with open areas, which echo Neutra’s original plan and are equipped to meet the power demands of contemporary devices. New to the floor plan are 10 collaboration studios. Enclosed with glass, the studios contain whiteboard walls and wheeled worktables to foster collaborative learning and study.
Library users will be able to enter the library directly from the north side—the one that will face the new Nexus Building and Welcome Center.
Also on the first floor is a new 3D printing studio. The studio—in place of the old copy center—contains four Makerbot 3D printers; a Filabot, which recycles plastic to make new filament (the ink of 3D printers); and two Next Engine 3D laser scanners, which create digital images of 3D three-dimensional objects.
The second-floor Gallagher Laboratory—a classroom outfitted with computer terminals—has been transformed with wireless connectivity and mobile workspaces that encourage interaction and group work. The multiple display screens lining the walls accommodate simultaneous presentations.
“Neutra envisioned Swirbul as a “living library”—full of activity,” Lym said. “With the collaboration studios…and more room for group work, this vision is coincidentally being further realized.”
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