Marston Science Library first floor to become student study space
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida President Bernie Machen has approved a plan to convert the first floor of the Marston Science Library into study space for more than 680 students.
Work likely will begin almost immediately, and the new study space should be finished by August, just in time for the beginning of the fall semester.
“There is clearly a demand for more study space on campus, and this plan makes it possible to create that space quickly and efficiently,” Machen said. “Students want and need it, it’s centrally located, and it’s a big, open space.”
The project is expected to cost $5.7 million. Combined with the planned renovation and conversion of nearby Newell Hall into study space for a similar number of students, central campus library study space – currently about 3,400 seats – will increase by more than 40 percent, said UF libraries Dean Judy Russell.
“During peak periods, we don’t have enough seating capacity. There are times when you walk in and people are sitting on the floor,” Russell said, adding that Library West sees about 1.4 million visitors a year.
In addition to a large main seating area, the new space will include a conference room, several group study rooms, a reconfigured staff lounge and space that may be used for a new Starbucks.
The roughly 26,000-square-foot Marston space currently is used to house about 640,000 U.S. government documents; roughly 190,000 pre-1990 academic journals; and a map-and-imagery library that includes nearly 500,000 maps, more than 7,000 atlases and reference books, and a quarter million aerial photographs.
The map library items will be moved to the Special Collections section in Smathers Library East, while the federal documents and journals will be moved to the Interim Library Facility at the Airport Industrial Park near Gainesville Regional Airport. The journals and documents can be retrieved on request and made available within hours, Russell said.
UF Vice President and Chief Information Office Elias Eldayrie said the new space also will make available to students software and other technology comparable to what currently is available in CIRCA labs.
The move to convert library space to study areas mirrors a national trend as more libraries move to digital collections and move low-use print materials off campus, Russell said.