Social Work Library Reopens After Renovation

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Although it has already endured two floods, the newly renovated Social Work Library is flourishing nearly two months after its reopening, library administrators say.

Located in McGuinn Hall basement, the facility underwent improvements during the summer which included better lighting and additional seating. These and other alterations will enable the library to better serve a customer population that has grown considerably in recent years, administrators said.

"The changes tend to be on the subtle side," said Social Work Head Librarian Donna Ferullo, "but I think people will notice and appreciate the differences."

University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky noted that the reopening of the Social Work Library marks the end of a period in which all Boston College libraries have undergone needed renovation.
The newly renovated Social Work Library has better lighting and additional seating. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

"Our goal is to provide a hospitable and comfortable facility for students and researchers," Yavarkovsky said. "The Social Work Library renovation is a milestone in improving the quality of the workspace. Through innovative design, the library's functionality is now improved, as is its study surroundings and staff efficiency."

The library had to close briefly last week and in mid-September when heavy rains produced minor floods in McGuinn's basement, but it sustained no significant damage.

Despite these inconveniences, Ferullo said, the library staff and its users have been pleased with its new look. Reorganizing the facility's physical lay-out created space for about 60 additional seats and more stacks, she said. The carrels now have individual lighting, she added, and have been wired for students' computer use.

"We did not gain much in the way of space, but what we have now is better utilized," Ferullo said. "Another major difference is we have moved the service and discussion areas toward the front of the library, so the noise levels will not affect people reading."

The increased capacity and reorganized space were especially important, given that the average weekly number of library users has nearly doubled in recent years to about 2,000. This figure includes not only students in GSSW - which has seen a tremendous surge in enrollment this decade - but undergraduates majoring in such disciplines as psychology, sociology or counseling psychology.

"The Social Work Library has always been well respected for its resources, both inside and outside of BC," Ferullo said. "It was the library's physical space which tended to be a matter of concern. The work done over the summer has addressed that."

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