JPL’s third floor has not been updated or renovated since the building opened in 1976. A capital improvements project began on the third floor a little over three years ago after feedback from a 2019 survey on library spaces, services, and collections indicated that students felt that JPL is too crowded and dark.
The library’s strategic focus on information literacy education and the University’s goal to increase student enrollment to 45,000 by 2028 demonstrated a real need to update this space into a more inviting, collaborative work and study space for students.
Project goals include:
- Brighten the floor by replacing the original large concrete panels on the north and south of the building with large floor-to-ceiling window panels. Includes:
- external cosmetic concrete repairs
- demolish and remove concrete panels and install windows
- Refresh and shape the book collection to ensure the most relevant materials for the campus community.
- Reconfigure stacks to open up the space, improving lines of sight
- Increase and add new collaborative and individual workspaces for various student needs
- Installing new contemporary furniture as requested by students during focus groups and surveys
Construction began in 2020 to remove the concrete panels and replace them with windows. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, we anticipate this phase of the construction will be completed during the fall 2022 semester. Supply chain issues have also delayed the new furniture that has been ordered. We anticipate the furniture, painting, etc. will be complete by the start of the Spring, 2023 semester.
It will not. We'll be reopening large study rooms in the interior of the space and some small study rooms. During a later phase of renovation, we will replace the group study rooms that accommodated 8-10 students with new small group study spaces that have moveable walls that can transform into spaces for larger groups. These spaces will also have flexible seating. In addition, we will eventually add other new collaborative-type and individual study spaces during the final phase of construction that will meet varied student needs.
The project started in 2020 with planning and bidding by contractors to begin work in 2020. With campus operations moving to remote for most of 2020 and 2021, contractors tried to take advantage of the lower traffic on campus. However, supply chain issues caused delays in materials deliveries several times. Unanticipated structural challenges and concrete cosmetic repairs also added to the time necessary for completion.
The project has been funded by library fees as well as funds the library receives from the incentivized resource management budget model.
Engineering firm WJE developed the design and plan for the windows project. The firm was selected for its extensive work in designing, repairing, and mitigating roof and window leaks, and the network of experts and engineers in the organization. The Libraries leadership has held one-on-one meetings with concerned faculty and has consulted with a long list of stakeholders including academic leadership, faculty senate, departmental chairs council, as well as the Student Government Association.
As we refresh and update the windows, space, and furnishings on the 3rd floor, librarians are reviewing the ranges of books stored there and designating items to remain, to be shifted to an alternate library location, or to be deselected. The library staff is consolidating and rearranging the book ranges to create multi-use spaces for students.
As a state agency, the UTSA Libraries follows state, UT System, and UTSA guidelines to steward our book inventory. We do not sell or give library books to individuals. We must offer deselected items to the other University of Texas or other Texas libraries. We also offer items not selected by other Texas libraries to the Internet Archive, a freely open online archive that digitizes the print books, stores them in perpetuity, and offers the digitized books to the world.
We encourage faculty liaisons to review our collection philosophy and vision and reach out to their subject librarian to discuss content needs in their subject area.
Yes, UTSA Libraries continuously acquires new materials across all disciplinary areas and in different available formats. Based on disciplinary need, availability, cost, user experience, and user preference, we provide access to a wide range of new and existing materials in both print and electronic formats.
We review a wide range of criteria and consider specific disciplinary needs as we make decisions about books in our collections. We consider broad availability of the content in our large online collections, as well as regional and national shared print collections and borrowing networks. Along with items we hold, our Get It For Me service can borrow many items from our partner networks. Our goal is always to get our users whatever materials they need for teaching, learning, and research at UTSA.
Through our Get It For Me service we can easily get books for you through our Interlibrary Loan service. When you submit a request through Get It For Me, we always prioritize delivery speed. Delivery speeds vary but typically average out to 1-2 weeks depending on the rarity of the material. If we get it from a local library, it may only be a matter of days.
Those who prefer a print book can borrow it through Get It For Me or reach out to your librarian for options. For the general library collections, our “e-preferred” policy means that we prioritize purchasing e-books when they are available and offer access models that can serve the diverse needs of the entire university community. We consider discipline-specific needs and special formats when purchasing materials in various formats.
Ultimately the Vice Provost & University Librarian with the support of the university administration designed a vision for the 3rd floor of the JPL based on information gathered from multiple stakeholders and campus decision makers (i.e. student, faculty and staff surveys, focus groups, environmental scans of peer libraries). To achieve the vision to renovate the space and incorporate much-needed and often-requested improvements in available lighting, technology, and study space, we recognized the need to review the many books housed on the 3rd floor.
Throughout the fall and spring of 2021 and 2022, the Vice Provost & University Librarian has held meetings about the project with multiple campus leadership groups, including those with faculty representation. He has also met on multiple occasions with the Student Government Association. Faculty liaisons, who work directly with librarians, have been formally engaged in discussions about the project. Additional discussions with academic departments are ongoing.
UTSA Libraries routinely perform collection maintenance, which involves bringing in new materials and shifting or deselecting materials as needed to support the research and teaching needs of the campus community. We are not currently renovating other library locations or undertaking other major book-shifting projects. However, we continuously assess the collections in all formats at all library locations.