Digital Arts Consolidated in Geisel Renovations

Geisel Library unveiled the $1.8 million makeover of its Arts Library on Dec. 15, complete with digital technology infrastructure and high-definition media workstations located on the first floor.

The renovations began in Winter Quarter 2007 and concluded Fall Quarter 2009.

According to UCSD Communications Director Dolores Davies, the project was initiated a decade ago, when UCSD Libraries determined that Geisel Library’s three separate parts — Art and Architecture, Music and Film and Video — were too disjointed to meet the changing needs of students and faculty. An advisory group composed of faculty and students was formed to guide a renovation and consolidation of the libraries.

The new Arts Library consolidates the three previous areas into one efficient workspace. According to Leslie Abrams, head librarian of the Arts Library, combining the three customer-service stations allows for an additional 16 hours of service per week, and allows the library to house its collections on compact shelves — creating more study areas.

“The consolidation opened up space tremendously,” Abrams said. “Most of it is underground, but you don’t feel like you are, because we have brought in so much light.”

The initial proposal projected a cost of $8 million, but the project was ultimately completed with less than $1.8 million. The renovations were funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, which had committed to the project before the budget crisis.

“The money was saved at a much better time fiscally,” Abrams said. “We are very lucky, because if we tried to get this money now, it wouldn’t be possible in this fiscal climate. It really is a gift to the students.”

The renovated Arts Library features improvements such as digital-media production studios, high-definition media-viewing stations and a film preservation studio. Students can now view films on high definition monitors and listen to audio from 8 a.m. to midnight every Sunday through Thursday.Three new group viewing spaces will be available by this spring.

Readers can contact Megha Ram at [email protected].

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