The Rush Rhees Library Revitalization project is currently in the planning phase as library staff, students and architects collaborate to create a road map. The project is a 10-year master plan to modernize Rush Rhees Library.
An open forum for the project was held on Tuesday, Jan. 21. The  architectural firm Perkins+ Will presented their proposals for technologically rich learning spaces to be designed for the library to an audience comprising of the student Association, library administrative staff, and members of the general student community,
The project will be focus on the back wraparound section of the library constructed in 1969. This includes most lower floors of the library.
“We are aware that we are transitioning to a digital future, and we are trying to be a collaborative hub of innovation in support of the schools that we serve,” Dean of River Campus Libraries Mary Ann Mavrinac said.
Additionally, the University is looking to improve how individuals navigate and interact with the library in order to make the space significantly more accessible.
“There is a desire to make the library more transparent to facilitate access to services while still allowing students to get lost in the labyrinth of the stacks,” Executive Director of Planning, Design, and Construction Management Jose Fernandez said.
Although the aim is to renovate the learning spaces, the plans involve no changes to the classic reading rooms and exterior architecture of the building.
The master plan is to be completed in early April, and all improvements will be made sporadically over the next ten years.
A key goal of the project is to integrate programs and technology into learning spaces. Among these efforts are the creation of the  Entrepreneurial Innovation Center aimed at entrepreneurial-focused undergraduates, the Center for Digital Scholarship promoting the use of emerging technologies, and the addition of collaborative brainstorming spaces that promote group work and research.
Specifically, Mavrinac mentioned configurable spaces with a lot of white board space so that people could work together to achieve their research.
The project is a collaborative effort between the administration and the student body.
According to Student Association Senator and freshman Josh Anes during the meeting on Tuesday, representatives from Perkins+Will broke participants up into groups to assess how students use the library.
“They wanted to see our input on how often we use the libraries, how often we use various services, and then how they can improve that during the Revitalization,” Anes said. “It’s great how they’re really listening to us and how taking in our ideas.”
“We’re not looking for technology for the sake of technology, but to enable collaboration, experiential learning, and active learning,” Dean Mavrinac said. “If we want our students to be competitive, they really have to have a state-of-the-art 21st century library.”
Douglas is a member of the class of 2017.



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