From ‘dark and dated' to bright and open - Western U celebrates reopening D.B. Weldon Library
Western University celebrated the completion of the first phase of the D.B. Weldon Library revitalization project on Thursday.
The reopening of the 50-year-old building comes with positive feedback from students who weighed in on the changes to the library's aesthetics.
The goal is to bring Weldon and other campus libraries into the 21st century by bringing more light into the space.
“Our student satisfaction surveys showed they found Weldon to be dark and dated,” said Catherine Steeves, the vice-provost and chief librarian.
“I am pleased we were able to introduce more natural light and warm, radiant light throughout the learning commons.”
The university spent $15 million in renovations that included a re-design, a new student learning commons with 300 more seats, seven consultation rooms, five study rooms, and two reading lounges.
The renovations also include a separate family room that has an area for children to play while parents work on their studies.
“The students are really appreciating the new furnishings, the group study rooms, and the access to technology and services. It’s so wonderful to see everyone back on campus and in community,” Steeves added.
Lockdowns and supply chain issues led to some delays in completing phase one of the project on time, according to the vice-provost.
On Thursday morning, writers and former library staff celebrated the completion of the project with readings and a guided tour of the space.
“It’s much more open, it feels more like a community space, which is what a library should feel like,” said Matthew Dawkins, a fourth-year student, and student writer-in-residence.
As a student and author of the book ‘Until We Break’, Dawkins said the changes to the building have made it a more inviting space for students.
“With the colour and rooms like this, people having the ability to book rooms, I think there’s a lot more potential and space for collaboration and creation,” he said.
Dawkin's debut novel is set for release this fall.
The Weldon Library opened in 1972, with seven floors and over 2,400 study seats.
During exam periods, the university stated that the library can see over 10,000 visitors a day.
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