The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library undergoing interior renovations for first time

Changes inside the first floor of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library will open up more study rooms for students with updated technology. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

For the first time since its opening 30 years ago, the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library (NPML) at the St. Pete campus is undergoing renovations to update a section of the first floor.

Renovations started April 4 and the library has closed the area off for students since, according to Interim Campus Library Dean Kaya van Beynen.

The bill for the project is $1.25 million and is being entirely covered by distance learning fees, as well as donations from St. Pete community member Josephine Hall and USF donor Lynn Pippenger.

Although NPML continues to be one of the most popular spots on campus for students to get work done, van Beynen said the space is no longer up to date with today’s technology-reliant education.

“The USF St. Pete library is almost 30 years old. It’s got great bones and it’s beautiful,” she said. “But the way students study, the way our staff needs to use the space has all changed. So, we’ve always adapted to the changing needs of students.”

Along with equipping students with more outlets and better WiFi, NPML’s Student Technology Center will now be permanently housed in the library, fitted with the necessary infrastructure to help students with their technological needs. In genius bar fashion, students will be able to approach library staff with any questions ranging from robotics training to 3D printing, according to van Beynen.

Once renovations are complete, students can expect a new row of glass study rooms that will seclude them from the entrance and atrium, according to van Beyen. Additionally, the new setup will equip NPML with the necessary space to house students for an all-night study hall when they have enough staff to oversee the area.

The updated floor plan will create a more distinct separation between study and social areas. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

Students should anticipate a modernized design for the renovated space, van Beynen said. Spearheaded by BFrank Studio, LLC, the same group that designed the library’s outside patio, the design includes LED lighting and a laptop bar to create a modern aesthetic.

Outside of the cosmetic changes being done, van Beynen said the renovated floor plan will set the campus standard for energy sustainability. The Student Sustainability Green Energy Fund will be installing metering in the building to track its energy expenditure and a green wall that will clean the air of harmful toxins, according to van Beynen.

In the past, library events and studying areas haven’t been effectively separated, leaving students interrupted and sending guests on confusing detours, according to van Beynen. That said, renovations are supposed to reserve room for events more toward the front of the library near the entrance while leaving students’ studying uninterrupted.

Librarians are no exception to time changing their needs within the workplace, according to van Beynen. With computers reducing the area necessary to efficiently manage the library, van Beynen said the office space will be reduced to free more room for the event area and streamline the work environment.

Although construction is underway during one of the busiest times of the semester, van Beynen said the work hasn’t altered the library’s hours of operations and students should expect the noise from the renovations to be kept to a minimum.

The construction crew has been alerted about critical dates for the rest of the spring and summer semester, such as finals week, to be more cautious about their activity, including saving some work to be done until after the library closes.

Renovations are expected to be complete at the beginning of September, and possibly earlier depending on if there are any interruptions, van Beynen said. Overall, she said she is excited about what the changes to the space have to offer the students in their collaborative coursework and learning.

“This is very good timing for us,” van Beynen said. “When students come back in the fall, we’ll all be shiny, new and pretty and ready to serve them.”