August 01, 2005

Morris Library gets a high-tech makeover

by Paula Davenport


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- After a celebratory groundbreaking last fall, SIUC launched a sweeping $42 million renovation to Morris Library.

The largest capital project in SIUC's history, it will modernize the 275,000-square-foot facility, adding another 50,000 square feet and amazing computer and information technologies.

The current schedule calls for project completion in December 2008.

But first, countless changes and preparations are being undertaken just to empty and ready the space for construction crews.

Day-to-day information on the project is available at

Basically, the project will occur in two phases.

During this current initial phase, half of the first floor and all of floors two through are closed in anticipation of the renovation. Beginning in September, most of the library's collection will be relocated to the newly built McLafferty Annex. Library patrons may request retrieval of materials from the annex online through the library's Web site, or in person at the first-floor circulation desk, which will remain open. The goal, according to library officials, is two-hour turnaround for retrieval of materials. Personnel at the circulation desk will hold materials for 48 hours.

These services are available on the first floor and in the basement: first floor – circulation/interlibrary loan, reserves, information/reference; basement – magazines and journals

(1996-current), books (2002-current), map library, Geographic Information Systems and the Curriculum Materials Center.

Administrative offices are in the Northwest Annex.

Construction of the 50,000-square-foot addition to the north of the existing facility also will take place during phase one of the project.

At the end of phase one in summer 2007, some staff and collections will return to the library and occupy the newly renovated floors and offices.

During phase two, the remaining floors (the remaining half of the first floor and all of the basement) will be closed.