Photo by Sho Kitamura

On Monday, the Library’s Third Floor West reopened after being closed for asbestos abatement. The space, which was cleaned thoroughly, is now empty: the collections were moved during the cleaning process.

In the time this space was closed, Library faculty and staff removed about 172,000 cleaned volumes from Third West by hand, amounting to about 3,000 book trucks full. Emory Library assisted in this effort by rapidly loaning from their libraries books that were temporarily unavailable to Tech faculty and students. This partnership with Emory is one that has been in the making and is being solidified as time goes on.

“There was this discussion of building this high density storage facility jointly between the two institutions. That project has moved along and we are at the architect selection for that building which will be located on the Briar Cliff campus at Emory,” said Catherine Murray-Rust, Vice Provost of Learning and Excellence and Dean of Libraries.

According to Jay Forrest the Collection Assessment and Statistics Coordinator, this facility, which Tech and Emory, will be called the Library Services Center will constantly either shipped or scanned, and available to the communities from each institution.

“The asbestos issues sped up some of our time frames, and sort of made us think quicker about what we’re going to do with the space,” Murray-Rust said.

The Libraries administration wants to keep the integrity of the Third Floor West as a quiet study space, but is taking suggestions as to what students want to see out of that space.

According to Tearanny Street, the Communications Coordinator, they are primarily using social media to reach out and ask for suggestions, but there is a white board currently set up on the third floor for passing students to write in suggestions as well.

Conversations began this week in regards to a temporary solution to best utilize the space available.

“This gives us a chance to do what we did in the library’s 2020 plan, and say to the Institute, we’re willing to do this radical thing which is sort of change the way we interact with campus in terms of library services, remove some of the older materials if we can get these buildings renovated,” said Murray-Rust.

This request has been brought to the Board of Regents (BOR) and heard so that the project for the renewal of the library towers could be accelerated.

According to the agenda for the Committee on Finance and Business Operations, on Oct. 8, an amendment to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Capital Budget Reqeust was recommended which would include $1.7 million in design funds to support the Price-Gilbert and Crossland Tower Renewal project at Tech. This would bring the FY 2015 capital request from $235.225 million to $236.925 million for the University System of Georgia. Tech would contribute $2.3 million to support the design phase of this project which would have a total estimated cost of $84.6 million. Construction could potentially be phased over two years.

Murray-Rust indicated this project would be a complete renewal starting by 2015.