Temple’s new library to be constructed in core of Main Campus

After the completion of the first phase of a campus and library planning process, Temple University has announced that its new flagship library will be constructed at the heart of Temple’s Main Campus.

The new library will be built on the site of Barton Hall on North 13th Street between Polett Walk—Temple’s east-west arterial walkway—and Norris Street.

“Libraries are central to university life. Our new library, a center of truly collaborative learning, belongs at the core of our Main Campus and at the heart of the academic lives of our students," said Temple President Neil D. Theobald.

The library's location near the Tuttleman Learning Center, the TECH Center and Paley Library (which will be renovated and repurposed) “creates a learning thread on Main Campus that ties together the TECH Center, student academic support and the learning environment of the new library,” said James P. Creedon, Temple’s senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations. Earlier campus plans had explored locating the library on the west side of North Broad Street.

Estimated to be completed in 2018, the new library will be designed by Snøhetta, an architectural firm renowned for its innovative library designs, in partnership with Philadelphia-based design firm Stantec. The 200,000 to 300,000-square-foot library will be open to the surrounding Philadelphia community and adjacent to a new greenspace that will be the largest in Main Campus history.

The early stages of the library’s design process have been guided by teams of Temple staff and students in a process led by University Architect Margaret Carney. Their work was informed by programming ideas shared by the Temple University community on the Visualize Temple social site. This summer and fall, library stakeholders participated in day-long workshops focusing on issues specific to the library, including learning, research and collections. Also underlying the library's programming are the academic priorities that Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Hai-Lung Dai is developing with input from faculty and staff.

Joseph P. Lucia, who was appointed dean of Temple University Libraries in July, said the process will ensure the library is designed to meet the needs of all who will study, research and create knowledge there.

“This innovative new building will be a catalyst for learning and intellectual engagement across the campus community,” Lucia said. "The big fulcrum of change is a shift in emphasis from the library as a repository of books to the library as place for sharing of ideas and new knowledge. In our planning process, we feel we’ve captured some of the best thinking and most creative ideas about how the library will operate in a campus environment in the 21st century.”

Final scheduling is still being developed, but the series of cascading construction and renovation projects involving Temple’s current and future Main Campus libraries is expected to begin when the science departments currently in Barton Hall can move into SERC, the future $137-million home for student learning and research in the sciences at Temple (some of Barton’s classrooms will move into Wachman Hall). Once Barton is vacated, its demolition will begin —most likely in the summer of 2015. After the new library is completed and occupied in roughly Spring 2018, the renovation of Paley Library will begin.