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Firestone renovations complete, encourages library attendance

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Shelley Szwast / Office of Communications

Students have been flocking to the newly renovated spaces in Firestone Library.

In February, the completion of the renovations on the Trustee Reading Room in Firestone brought about the end of the library’s official 10-year renovation project.


The library website announced, “After almost a decade, the Firestone renovation project is complete!”

Over the last five years, before renovations were fully completed, Firestone saw an almost 63-percent surge in people coming to the library, according to the University’s press release.

Increased attendance marks a great success for the renovation, which aimed to make Firestone a useful space for more students as one of the largest open-stack libraries in the world.

According to Firestone’s website, the main goals of the project were “improving reader and study spaces, upgrading Rare Books & Special Collections areas, introducing sustainable building features, updating life-safety systems, and renovating graduate study rooms, exhibit spaces, and shelving areas in the library.”

The goal of providing students the tools necessary to succeed was at the core of the renovation’s mission.

“The project focused on creating a building that is well-suited to support modern library services and contemporary approaches to scholarship, while also providing inspiring, flexible study and work spaces,” the University wrote in the press release. “The renovation also incorporated a number of sustainable features, greatly improving the energy-efficiency of the building.”


The renovation made Firestone more environmentally friendly by including light sensors, heat-insulated windows, and other sustainable features.

The long-term renovation drastically changed many spaces inside the library but preserved its gothic exterior.

According to the press release, the challenge of the renovation was keeping Firestone, the main library on the University’s campus, open while it was undergoing construction. Now, with the completion of the Trustee Reading Room, all parts of Firestone are open for use.

The library website explains the changes to the first-floor room.

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According to the library website, “The Trustee Reading Room is reopening with the original floors brought back to life, new window shades on the south wall, and an abundance of study tables and chairs. There are even a few locations of soft seating.”

Despite these changes, some students think that the reconstructed room feels quite similar to its original form.

“I have no idea how it’s different, but it looks really nice,” Katie Massie ’21 said.

In addition to the reopening of the Trustee Reading Room, Firestone has debuted more study spaces and information desks on the north side of the first floor.

“It’s cool to see how everyone flocks to the new spaces pretty quickly,” Henry Slater ’22 said. “It seems like there’s not much resistance to the new. I like that it’s on the first floor.”

Students see the appeal of the new convenient spaces.

“I think the biggest difference I’ve noticed in terms of the construction is that the light is very different, so the spaces feel more open and relaxing to study in, rather than being cramped fluorescent spaces,” Massie said.

The outside architectural firms involved with this project included Massimino Building Corporation, Shepley Bulfinch, and Frederick Fisher and Partners.

Students can also look forward to the Tiger Tea Room, which is set to open this summer in Firestone.