The Rare Book & Manuscript Library on the 6th floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library has completed the first phase of its multi-year renovation project to transform the space into a special collections center that will also offer patrons scenic views of the Penn campus and the city.
A new reading room, completed in November, gives users a comfortable space with lots of natural light to conduct research. There is also a new lecture and event area in the middle of the 6th floor that can be used for a variety of purposes, including hosting guest lectures.
Additionally, a new study alcove allows for group study sessions, and a new terrace reading and study space that overlooks Locust Walk gives patrons a bird’s-eye view of College Green.
“The Libraries really serve as a hub on campus for scholarly activities, and having better access to our primary source materials and space to accommodate it is a huge benefit to the entire Penn community,” says H. Carton Rogers III, vice provost and director of Penn Libraries.
The 6th floor will remain closed until the entire renovation project is completed next fall. All of the rare books and manuscripts have been relocated to other areas of the Library, where aficionados can still access the materials. The historic Lea Library, which is not part of the renovation project, is being protected while construction occurs on other areas of the 6th floor.
Phase two of the renovations begins in February, with the construction of a new home for the Shakespeare collection, three new seminar rooms and a state-of-the-art media lab for viewing items such as digital images. In addition, a second terrace seating area is being constructed, with a view of the Center City skyline.
The third and final phase of the project calls for the construction of a new stack space for the Library’s rare book collection located on the 5th floor of Van Pelt.
Floor plans of the renovations are available on the Libraries’ website.
Originally published on December 15, 2011