Sustainability and Repurposing Are Key Features of UCSB Library Expansion Project

LEED logo(Winter 2013) – A major renovation of the UCSB Library is slated to begin this spring, and when completed, the redesigned library — located in the heart of campus — will be a rich and unprecedented resource for the university and for a new generation of scholars.

Among the highlights of the project, which will be completed in fall 2015, are the addition of approximately 60,000 square feet and the renovation of another 92,000 square feet; a new facility for the Department of Special Collections, with state-of-the-art technology for preservation of its important documents, books, and other materials; a new arts library, with dedicated exhibit space, housed inside the main library; 20 percent more study space; expanded wireless access; naturally-lit reading galleries; a faculty collaboration studio; and additional and enhanced group study and collaboration areas.

“With the addition and renovation project, the UCSB Library will continue its commitment to enduring forms of scholarship,” said University Librarian Denise Stephens. “At the same time, it will provide an increasingly diverse, collaborative, and technologically-empowered community of scholars with the expanded and emerging services and spaces they need to meet their research and learning objectives.”

Maintaining — and even exceeding — the campus’s commitment to sustainability, the project aims to achieve gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) system. Silver certification was the minimum requirement when the project was originally approved. Among other distinctions, the library project will feature water-efficient landscaping; water use reduction; recycling of construction waste; a white roof; energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; and green building materials.

The UCSB Library will be the 31st LEED certified building on campus, and the ninth to achieve Gold certification. Among all UC campuses, UCSB has the highest number of LEED certified buildings.

In another nod to sustainability and good stewardship, many of the trees removed to make way for the building expansion will be relocated to other areas of campus, or to off-campus sites. Several of the older trees will be repurposed into custom furniture by local artisan Rob Bjorklund, and will return to the newly renovated and constructed spaces in the form of reading tables and chairs. In addition, 42 new trees will be planted as part of the library complex’s landscaping plan.

“Our Research Library is spectacularly sited at the intersection of the two most important UC Santa Barbara view corridors – the Library Mall and the Pardall Corridor,” said Marc Fisher, senior associate vice chancellor for administrative services. “It is, perhaps, the most symbolically charged site on our beautiful campus. The library renovation and expansion project takes great advantage of the site with a new architectural iconography that rises to the stature of our campus and the site. The new image, along with a reorganized entry sequence, soaring paseo lobby, and new enhanced internal circulation, will create a much improved library while adding even greater vitality to the already vibrant Library Mall. I am excited to see this project move forward.” 

The library, which has not undergone any renovations in 35 years, will remain open during the course of construction. The east entrance and two-story building will close on commencement of work this spring and will remain closed for the duration of the project. Some books and journals will be moved off-site to accommodate the closing of the two-story building and the installation of a newer fire suppression system in the four- and eight-story buildings. However, users will be able to identify those materials in the library catalog and to request their delivery, either from off-site storage or Interlibrary Loan.

Some floors of the eight-story tower will be closed to the public for a few weeks at a time during construction, but materials will continue to be retrieved on demand by library staff.

Details about the library’s addition and renovation project, including news, updates, and images can be found at Questions can be directed to project [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu.