For years, there has been a persistent leak from the west side 8th floor HVAC unit that serviced our Special Collections Reading Room. This resulted in a constant threat to the rare collections housed in that room, along with causing damage to the ceiling and floors. At long last, this summer Facilities removed the ancient system and replaced it with a new 21st century unit. In addition, an extra system was installed to handle the HVAC needs for the majority of the 8th floor stack area (Previously they had shared the one unit). To accommodate the extra unit, we sacrificed several book ranges so that a new HVAC room could be built to hold the new unit. Hopefully, once the final touches and tweaks happen, the west-side 6th floor Special Collection areas will be climate controlled (temperature and humidity) and will be dry!
The Atrium flooring (tile and carpet) also date back 20 years to the original installation when the Wilson Wing was built. You don’t have to guess the era just from seeing the blue and orange color scheme…..The carpet and tile are well worn from constant high use of the most popular area in ZSR Library. When deciding what type of flooring to use to replace the old, we traveled to many other libraries to get ideas. Flooring options have really expanded over the last few decades and we have tentatively selected to install cork flooring. It should offer noise reduction in addition to how beautiful it looks. We do want to be certain that it will stand up to normal public wear and tear, so the flooring vendor provided us with a mock-up installation. You will see it installed in the center of the atrium in front of the staircase to Reference. We want to see how it stands up to carts wheeling across it, students running across it during Capture the Flag events and thousands of footsteps that take place over a regular semester! The picture below shows the way we hope the floor will be installed, using a herringbone pattern. We invite your feedback over the next few months.