From College Librarian (and all around excellent guy) David Pilachowski:

A fair question is “How can we be sure that new Sawyer Library, as it will be called, will provide a long-term answer to campus library needs for 50-100 years?” With the assistance of the Bohlin Cywinski Jackson architects, and the involvement of the Stetson/Sawyer Building Committee, librarians and information technologists, and the President’s Senior Staff, the building has been designed to meet changing needs over the years ahead. In particular, the collection area will accommodate compact shelving on all levels; an off-site shelving facility can accommodate growing collections while ensuring that users are not squeezed out by books; raised floors and demountable walls in areas most impacted by technology changes will facilitate repurposing space; and standard floor to ceiling heights will allow conversion of selective collection space to such people-centric functions as classrooms and academic support should that be desired.

1) The College ought to put the plans on-line so that the rest of us can take a peak. (UPDATE: Here are some details. Thanks to Pilachowski for the link.)

2) I have a great deal of faith in Pilachowski, Professor Michael Brown and all the other folks engaged in this project. I bet that the new Stetson/Sawyer (or INSERT-YOUR-NAME-HERE) will be fantastic.

3) I still wish that the College had not engaged in this particular spending spree, but, at this point, there is no going back.

4) What is the carbon emissions impact of this new construction? Williams won’t tell you! Nor will it include that impact in its aren’t-we-special report on carbon emissions. This is the main environmental hypocrisy of Williams: We claim to be reducing carbon emissions, but then we don’t count the carbon emissions associated with new construction.

5) My main concern is with “repurposing space.” What percentage of the total floor space is devoted to books and periodicals? My prediction is that, within a decade, less than 10% of that space will be needed. Anything not online, and easily reachable via Kindle/Ipad/Android, will be invisible and unwanted. As long as most/all of that space can, easily, be turned into classrooms, meeting spaces and so on, I am satisfied.

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