ASSOCIATES (vol. 7 no. 2, November 2000) -

A Tale of One Library's Renovation:

School of Medicine Library
University of South Carolina


Ellen Reynolds
Cataloging Specialist
School of Medicine Library University of South Carolina

     We decided several years ago that our library was in dire need of renovation. We had been here for twenty years and the library was beginning to show its age. The original carpet was bright orange, but, thankfully, that had been replaced by a dull gray color. The wallpaper was horrendous - ranging in colors from yellow to brown and orange stripes. The shelving was the worst - orange metal. The Circulation desk was old fashioned and lacked a place for the reference folks to sit that was easily accessible to the public. In addition, since our medical students have keys to the library, we have actually had students who spend night after night in the library. They study, eat and sleep in our library. The carpet was also worn and faded with water spots from watering the plants. We originally planned to renovate the entire library, but found that to be cost prohibitive.

     We put the contract out for bids and finally decided on a contractor. After many delays we had a date to begin construction. Before we could begin, we had to pack our entire book collection into boxes to be sent to storage. We donned our shorts last May and started to work. The books were kept in order and the boxes labeled. We also dusted the books, as some had not been used for years! We had all the books boxed in record time.

     Then we turned to the staff offices. We had to decide what to put in storage and what to take with us to our new home on the third floor. Our computers went with us, but many file cabinets and desks did not. It was with great trepidation that we all moved in together in one big room on the third floor. Not only would there be fourteen of us in the room, we were taking over classroom space from the medical school. Not all of the tenants of the third floor were happy to see us invade their space. Also, some of us are very private and weren't too happy about sharing our private space.

     Still, renovation has actually been a good experience. Since May we have watched the progress of the library eagerly. Each day brought new sights to behold. The ceiling was completely torn out and all the lights were removed. The carpet was removed. The circulation desk was taken away to parts unknown.

     After many delays, the date for opening has been set for November 9, 2000. We have our fingers crossed. A beautiful new circulation desk is in place. The doorway has been moved to the other side of the building and outfitted with a lovely archway painted garnet, one of our schools colors.

     A long, useless hallway has been incorporated into the library adding at least six more feet of space and giving us windows to a courtyard. New computer carrels have been installed. New shelving was too costly so the original shelving was spray painted neutral oyster. New lighting has considerably brightened the whole first floor. The new carpet is a maroon and gray swirl. There are matching easy chairs for the lobby.

     The circulation desk is a masterpiece L-shaped to accommodate both circulation and reference with a gray corian top. The new conference room is large and airy with a glass front overlooking the entire library. Our break room will have a new refrigerator and plenty of storage. We may even squeeze in a sofa, as well as tables and chairs for our lunches.

     Our offices have all been freshly painted with new carpet and lights. Soon we will have new desks in our office and freshly painted shelves. The serials department will have new work area with an extra wall to protect them from the cold winds when the mail is delivered. Back on the first floor we will not miss the trek up to the third floor. Believe or not we will miss the camaraderie of our home on the third floor. It has been quite a summer and fall! Maybe one day we will tackle the second floor, but not for a long time!

Go Back ArrowReturn to Top of Page

About Us | Subscribe | Editors | Submit | Current Issue | Archives | Links | Survey | Home