By JEFF WISNIEWSKI
The current phase of the Hillman Reinvention, scheduled to last approximately 18 months, began in August. The floors under construction, first and second, are closed, but the remainder of the building is open, and all library services are available. Entrance to the building is via the ground floor.
As has been the case for many years, Hillman is operating on a 24x5 schedule (from 10 a.m. Sundays to 10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays) in the fall and spring terms. So despite the disruptions inevitable with any construction project, the library continues to be open and available to the Pitt community. (See schedule here.)
The next and final phase of the renovation will see construction begin on the ground floor and see work on the core of the building, which includes elevators and bathrooms.
Plans for ground floor spaces are mostly finalized, but there is still the possibility of some change. So, instead of enumerating specific potential spaces or getting into details, we can say that plans include:
Spaces to support creation and collaboration. These include media creation spaces, light- and sound-controlled spaces, and spaces to both instruct in the use of and for hands-on experience with audio and video production equipment. Some of these spaces support individual work, while others are designed for collaborative work and creative expression.
Key staff, specifically those who work directly with Pitt faculty and students, in more accessible spaces. While the pandemic has seen a shift to virtual interaction, face-to-face consultation continued throughout, and there is value in reducing any and all barriers between those who seek assistance and those who provide it.
More visible and approachable service points. Our staff is warm and welcoming, but the same cannot be said for the desks, consultation areas, and rooms from which they operate. The renovation seeks to create welcoming, easy-to-find spaces for either casual interactions or more in-depth research consultations.
Expansions and upgrades to the core of the building, which includes elevators and bathrooms.
As has been the case with the renovated fourth and third floors, the ground floor will also include study areas, comfortable seating, group study spaces, and plenty of electrical outlets.
Jeff Wisniewski is director of communications and web services for the University Library System.