The Yale community will lose access to most of the Cross Campus lawn next school year as the underground library is being renovated, facilities officials said yesterday.
In an open forum at Sterling Memorial Library, project supervisors said renovations to Cross Campus Library will require fencing off the area between the two Berkeley College buildings. They also announced that the renovations — slated to begin this summer — will open two sunken courtyards for library patrons. The catalogues in the SML lobby will be permanently moved to the library basement and off-campus storage locations, supervisors said. While some students said they are unhappy about the temporary loss of Cross Campus, many said they accept it as a necessity for the renovations.
Project Manager Rich Vollaro said Cross Campus will become a full-scale construction zone as the library’s leaky roof is replaced. Workers will erect temporary sidewalks to aid pedestrians, he said, but Yalies will lose one direct route to SML for the duration of the year. The workers will restore the above-ground area to its original form when they complete renovations in Aug. 2007, with the exception of a new CCL entrance pavilion between Berkeley and William L. Harkness Hall.
Some students said the renovations will deal a temporary blow to University life, as Cross Campus’s central location makes it ideal for socializing.
“That’s the very center of campus,” Laura Kasparian ’06 said. “A million people go through there every day. I feel like the construction will disrupt the flow of the campus.”
But Davida Wegner GRD ’11, who was lying on the Cross Campus lawn Thursday afternoon, said the construction zone is a worthy sacrifice.
“I think it’s unfortunate, but if it’s necessary for rebuilding the library, then I’m all for it,” she said.
Although passersby will lose access to the CCL courtyards, project administrators said, students in the library will be able to enter them without passing the check-out desk.
“You can take books outside and still be within the security perimeter of the library,” Vollaro said. “It’s going to be a different use for that courtyard, which is currently dead space.”
Associate University Librarian Danuta Nitecki said librarians have already started moving CCL’s formidable 250,000-volume collection to the first three floors of the SML stacks. Some SML study areas will assume CCL’s late-night schedule during construction, she said, but food and drink will be prohibited.
Much of CCL’s staff and equipment, including the Integrated Technology Services computer cluster, will be moved to SML’s lobby, Nitecki said. The most outdated cards from SML’s card catalogues will be shipped to a storage facility in Hamden, Conn., while the rest will reside in the library’s basement.
Sodany Sor ’06 said that although the catalogue is archaic, she thinks it is an integral part of a library’s character.
“Sterling would lose a bit of its aescetic appeal if the card catalog were removed,” she said. “It’s one of those things you don’t miss until it’s gone.”
Yale University Librarian Alice Prochaska said the catalogue relocation marks a significant moment in the University libraries’ efforts to modernize.
“There are a lot of people who regard card catalogs as an important emblem of the continuity of the library,” she said. “I certainly think they should be preserved, but I don’t think they’re useful for most current purposes.”
Library officials reiterated their plans to replace the vending equipment in Machine City with a cafe area, though the type of food service still has not been determined.