March 05, 2008

Library's third-fifth floors reopen March 17

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A March 18 open house will showcase the newly reopened and renovated third through fifth floors of Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The renovation is part of a $56.5 million expansion and renovation project. Work continues on the remainder of the project that will add 50,000 square feet and renovate the remainder of the facility.

The open house festivities run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., with tours offered every hour, on the hour from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. departing from the first floor elevators. A special ceremony at 2 p.m. will feature brief remarks from University officials including David H. Carlson, dean of Library Affairs. Refreshments for the event are coming from SIUC's Hospitality and Tourism Administration program, within the animal science, food and nutrition department

"We are very excited by the limited 'transitional' opening of the new Morris," Carlson said. "It is an important step in the progress of the renovation and construction project. It does not mean we are done. There is much yet to do. But, it is clear evidence of important progress. I am especially excited our campus community will be viewing this space for the first time. I am confident they will be proud of the work that's been done and proud of the campus for the support of such a wonderful space dedicated to learning and research. And the best thing is there's more to come!"

The public can actually get a preview of the new and improved third, fourth and fifth floors on March 17 when they reopen. A number of location changes of services, many temporary, will be evident within Morris Library. The circulation desk and interlibrary loans will remain on the first floor near the entrance as work continues nearby.

The information desk and 80 public computers have relocated to the third floor along with current periodicals and newspapers, newspaper microfilm, some Curriculum Materials Center collection materials and reference and browsing room books. In addition, visitors will find VHS tapes, DVDs, musical CDs (many held as reserve materials), the Debit Dawg card machine and microform printers on the third floor.

Meanwhile, the reserve desk is moving from the first floor to the southwest corner of the fourth floor. Also relocating to the fourth floor are geographic information systems, maps, SIUC theses and dissertations. All of the books purchased during the past six years will find their permanent home on the fifth floor while music scores will be in the southwest corner of that floor. Photocopiers are available throughout the building.

The majority of the Morris Library book collection moved to McLafferty Annex a couple of years ago in conjunction with the construction project and for now, will remain there.

Work is continuing on the expansion and renovation project for the basement through second floors. When that's all done, the reserves and other temporarily relocated items will travel to their permanent homes and the building will be fully and completely operational.

Carlson said the "true grand opening" is anticipated late this fall or by the end of 2008. Afterward, plans call for renovation of the sixth and seventh floors, which will take about a year to complete.

Within the SIUC library facilities visitors can find more than 2.4 million volumes, 3.1 million microform units and about 12,500 current periodicals and serials. There's also the Special Collections Research Center's extensive collection of manuscripts, personal letters, photographs, rare books collections and academic dissertations, theses and University records. In addition, there's Instructional Support Services, access to I-Share and The Learning Express Library and much more.