Faculty demand role in Gelman revamp

Members of the Faculty Senate are asking University administrators for a greater oversight role on the upcoming Gelman Library renovations.

Spurred by student complaints and a desire to direct the revamps, the faculty leaders hope to form a committee that would give them power to oversee the renovations and voice their opinions about improving the often criticized library.

Pending approval from University Provost Steven Lerman, the body would gather input from faculty as well as students and other staff.

The University has taken strides to improve the aging building, long a target of student complaints, this semester. In February, a University-hired architect presented a potential plan for remodeling the first floor of the library. Administrators have repeatedly stressed there is no timeline for renovations.

The group would “look at Gelman with an eye toward future physical needs, future fiscal needs and, most importantly, what a university needs to look like in 10 years, 15 years, 25 years,” Michael Castleberry, chair of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, said in an e-mail.

Castleberry said the group wants to involve librarians from other universities to provide suggestions as well.

“We requested for funds to invite some first-class librarians from around the country to come and let us pick their brains to see how they view the future” Castleberry said.

Castleberry said he expects University President Steven Knapp to approve of the group and hopes to have a report of suggestions out to the rest of the Faculty Senate next spring.

University President Steven Knapp said he supports the idea of involving more members of the community in future decisions regarding the library.

David McAleavey, chair of the Faculty Senate Libraries Committee, said he believes it’s extremely important for faculty members to be involved in any renovations.

“The library system is a central component of the University both for teaching and research,” McAleavey said. “For most of us it’s more than symbolic, it’s a central part of our lives.”

University Librarian Jack Siggins said the University is in the process of creating a separate Gelman review committee of its own, but would welcome the opportunity for an open discussion with faculty about renovations.

“Just as we have actively sought and received student input on the Gelman renovations, it is very important to have faculty input also because they are users of the library and have as much at stake in the library as the students,” Siggins said in an e-mail.

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