On Monday, the Allyn and Betty Taylor Library celebrated its 25th anniversary. Over the past five years, collaboration among faculty, students, donors and librarians has resulted in new updates to the library, located in the Natural Science Building, that are more conducive to the way students are using the space.
“Students called for more collaborative space, better lighting and an increase in the number of electric outlets,” said Kim Cornell, who has worked at Taylor for more than a decade, including seven years as Assistant University Librarian. The updates also include more seating space, more individual study carrels and natural lighting.
The recent changes at Taylor Library reflect the “overall trend in academic libraries,” said Associate Chief Librarian Harriet Rykse. “Collections are becoming much more digital. There are fewer and fewer resources being held in the library.”
An important factor in the renovations was retaining seating capacity.
“By midday, all of these chairs are full,” Cornell said. Over the last five years, close to 300 new seats have been added to the library, including 90 individual carrels, as suggested by the students.
The students not only helped conceptualize the space, but actually helped fund it. Western’s Science Student Council was among the donors for the project. Cornell stressed the importance of community engagement and facilities management and the team effort that went into creating the space.
“Without these people,” she said, “this wouldn’t have happened.”
Funding for the renovations also came from Foundation Western, the Alumni Association, Western Student’s Science Council and individual members of the Asian community in London.
Personal donations from the Asian community will be displayed in the east portico of the library, along with art received from Western International and a wall featuring the word ‘welcome’ in more than 50 languages.
The library has incorporated five new discussions rooms with big screens and projectors for collaborative work. Outside of the discussion rooms, the library has lounge areas, couches and tables of various different sizes that are also ideal for collaborative work. The lighting has been refreshed and redone. They have made the space into “the most comfortable, engaging, and creative space that they can,” Cornell said.
On Tuesday, the library held its 25th anniversary celebration. Since opening in 1991, the library has undergone several notable changes, and the event was a chance to attest to that. The event included student-led activities, an international activity involving Tai Chi and Chinese calligraphy and an acapella group. There was alsomini putt as an ode to the library’s history, since it sits on the former Hole No. 6 of the London Hunt Club.