Van Pelt's first floor ready for business


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Speed. Comfort. Light.

That's what has emerged so far from Van Pelt Library's first floor demolition.

The brand new reference and study facilities add 44 desktop work stations and 56 laptop-accessible stations that mean high-speed access not only to Penn's holdings but to the catalogs of major research libraries around the world.

For comfort, the new area seats 120 in spaces that include well-lit lounges and quiet study areas. The 30-foot cherrywood service desk custom-made by furniture designer Thomas Moser is giving, well, service.

And natural light pours in from the large, newly exposed Walnut Street-side windows.

"What the Classes and individual supporters of this project share," said Paul Mosher, vice provost and director of libraries at Penn, "is a vision of the Library as the great intellectual commons of the University, a place here scholars meet,exchange ideas, mature and create knowledge that shapes and enlarges our world."

Still to come: a cybercafe eventually, the Marian Anderson Music Study Center in April to complete a first rate new music library, more lounge and study areas, and new environments for circulation, current periodicals and microforms.

"Penn did it right!" wrote undergrad David Effross, in a note posted to the library's Web site.

Originally published on January 14, 1998