Robert E. Kennedy Library

Written by on March 3, 2014

Reimagining our library is a collaborative campus process

During their second visit to campus in February the architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch met again with the Cal Poly community to listen closely to our needs and explore ideas for reimagining Kennedy Library.

The architectural team met separately with the steering committee, building program committee, staff, faculty, academic partners and students. It was a full day!

Exploring our collective goals

I’m co-chair of the building program committee with David Beales, our engineering and program review librarian, and together with the committee we explored the campus’ many needs for collaborative and contemplative study spaces. To prepare for Shepley Bulfinch’s second of three visits, we reviewed the ten or so goals that Shepley Bulfinch had put together as a result of their first visit. These goals were their first take on what they heard from our campus community about the role of Kennedy Library. There was a lot of discussion to clarify meaning, explore priorities and understand where others were coming from in their take on the goals.

Together we agreed that Kennedy Library:

  • is a fertile, dynamic hub for cross-disciplinary experiences and
  • contributes to Cal Poly’s identity as an intellectually rigorous hands-on institution.

It’s a process

We want architectural and programmatic goals and changes to support that identity. In addition, we want to clarify, in the context of the larger campus ecology and master planning, what core services are unique to the library. These include space to study, access to collections and expert help in finding the information students and faculty need. In addition, the library is in a unique position to provide a place for interdisciplinary collaboration, open education initiatives and digital scholarship services, to name a few.

With that in mind, we’re working together on ways we can ensure the library continues to contribute to the campus as we consider architectural changes. Here’s the draft:

  1. Support collaborative work through diverse environments.
  2. Invite campus engagement by hosting events, exhibits and gatherings.
  3. Expand presence and community awareness of Special Collections and Archives.
  4. Reveal student, faculty, and staff work generated within and facilitated by the library.
  5. Make visible the intellectual vibrancy at the library.
  6. Enhance staff communication and productivity.
  7. Promote synergies and shared space among campus partners.
  8. Incorporate technology mindfully.
  9. Preserve individual, quiet study space.

Shepley Bulfinch is scheduled to return to Cal Poly on April 10 for their third and final visit. For more information about the project schedule, please contact Cheryl May, Library Administrative Services, 805.756.2345 or csmay at calpoly dot edu.

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