On Wednesday, August 2, Chris, Colleen, and Denice took a summer road trip to tour the D.H. Hill, Jr. and James B. Hunt Libraries at North Carolina State University. Along with the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Library of Veterinary Medicine, Harrye B. Lyons Design Library, and Natural Resources Library, Hill and Hunt create iconic student and faculty work (and rest) locations on State’s 2,100 acre city campus. Our tour guide, Tarida Anantachai, Director of Inclusion & Talent Management, shared NCSU Library history, fun facts, and interesting tidbits throughout the morning.

D.H. Hill, Jr. Library

Located on the main campus, the D.H. Hill Jr. Library is nestled between The Brickyard – a popular student social and event location – and a Target! Renovated in 2020, Hill attracts 1.2M visitors annually and up to 9,000 per day during peak times. The East Wing of the first floor houses the Special Collection & Archives Reading Room, Research Center, and a beautiful exhibit featuring influential NCSU female athletes, professors, and students over the years. Lastly, in efforts to support student access and affordability initiatives, the Hill Library holds at least one copy of all required textbooks for Fall and Spring courses available on a 2-hour loan.

Two of the coolest features of the Hill Library highlight its commitment to providing users with the latest technological tools and platforms all developed by students and faculty. The Innovation Studio features touch-free browsing when learning about research efforts such as feminist technologies, AI collaborations in science fiction, and human activity impact on marine life. Also, the Cyma Rubin Visualization Gallery provides a 360° platform for exhibits and presentations. The Gallery has also been used by library faculty for relaxation sessions – one in particular featuring an immersive under the sea experience.

James B. Hunt Library

Although photos of the Hunt Library are available online and in numerous library, architectural, and sustainability-focused publications, it is certainly a site to be seen in person. Of course, the literally world-renowned bookBot provides an amazing backdrop upon entrance. Drawing over 80,000 visitors worldwide per year, the automated storage and retrieval system currently holds 1.8 million primarily textiles and engineering titles and allows for the conservation of nine times the amount of space needed using otherwise traditional stack formats. Although bookBot request procedures allow for 1 – 2 days for processing, the typical retrieval and delivery time is reportedly less than 5 minutes. We were able to see a demo of the bookBot in action.

Beyond its beauty and user-focused design, Hunt library is LEED Silver-Certified having used at least 31% of its building materials from recycled or reclaimed sources and 82% of wood used in construction harvested from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Sources. Furthermore, occupancy sensors and exterior window facings and architectural elements provide lighting and temperature control conducive to both human comfort and environmental preservation. Lastly, color is used throughout the building to enhance wayfinding, safety, and appeal for diverse user occupants.

In Summary…

Both facilities provide users with tangible and intangible tools and experiences like online sensory maps, a state-of-the-art Game Space and Lab, and over 80 chair types that promote comfort and body inclusivity. Also, and recently, all NCSU Libraries launched a Marker Recycling Program to reduce waste related to the hundreds of dry erase surfaces available to users. Check out our pictures from the day HERE!

We rounded off our trip with lunch at the Terrace Restaurant on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course where the discussion ranged from Otakon to Comic-Con and, yes, multitudinous library conferences on our to-do and wish lists.

Special thanks to Tarida for the excellent accommodations and easy parking experience and to ZSR for allowing the time away for the educational and developmental opportunity!