Van Pelt's first floor ready for business

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