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Firestone renovations expected to be completed by end of year

The 14-year endeavor to transform Firestone Library is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

The Firestone Planning Committee, founded by then-Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 in 2006, has been overseeing the extensive renovations. Numerous study rooms and the Rare Books Collection on the C floor have already been constructed.


According to Michael Denchak, the program manager at the Office of Design and Construction and an overseer of the project, the work that remains are some finishing touches on the B and C floors, anticipated to be completed by Commencement, and final work on the first floor, scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2018.

Changes to the first floor will include new flooring and a permanent security desk. The Trustee Reading Room will be closed from the end of Commencement to the end of the calendar year, Denchak said.

“It’s been a long time and required a lot of creative planning,” Denchak added, admitting with a chuckle that “it would have been much easier if we emptied the building.”

The abatement of hazardous materials, demolition, and construction has been going on while students have been using the library on a relatively normal schedule.

“The process has been very, very difficult,” Denchak said. However, some students shared that the construction has not been an issue. Michelle Baird ’20 spends her time at Firestone working behind the circulation desk or studying. She said that the construction has not been an issue for her studying and that many of the new renovations are colorful and comfortable.

She added that the recent additions of the Scribner, Graham, and Dulles Reading Rooms on the first floor are “pretty different from the rest of Firestone, and I think a lot of people like that.”


Paula Vedoveli GS, a Ph.D. student in the Department of History, works as an information assistant on the first floor of Firestone. The renovations are “absolutely fantastic,” she said.

“There is absolutely no other place like it,” Vedoveli said, referring to the plenitude of resources and help available from technology assistants, research advisors, and information assistants like herself.

“There were a few instances where I could hear hammering and noise while studying, but that was a small price to pay for the renovations,” Vedoveli added.

This month, the Cotsen Children Library is also planned to reopen after being closed for renovations at the end of spring 2017. The library is a place for people in the community to bring their children, with multiple read-along programs to engage kids in a fun environment.

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“It is my favorite place in the library,” said Vedoveli. “It’s a fun, colorful place with giant toys, and children love it.”

By the end of 2018, extensive flooring and renovation work will be completed on the first floor. Currently, the north end of the first floor that included the Dixon Reading Room, closest to Nassau Street, is in the beginning stages of renovation. This includes the removal of hazardous materials, then demolition, and finally construction. The library’s technical services department was located in this area of Firestone and moved to 693 Alexander Rd. as a swing space until the area could be ready to receive people again. There will likely be new furniture and collaborative areas, with a minimized reference section.

“There will be a new access room in the main lobby, along with two new toilet rooms,” added Denchak. “Folks from the community that do not have a University ID can get a temporary ID from this room so that they can enter the library.”