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The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

An indefinite delay in the reconstruction of library space

Brian Lai
Renovations to the university library are soon to be in-progress.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Library recently underwent renovations in an attempt to expand and modernize study spaces. However, further renovations to the library have been postponed indefinitely.


Carlos Carrillo, the collection maintenance coordinator for the library, shared some insight on the library’s future development. 


“As with everything else, all current plans have been delayed since COVID and the shutdown,” Carrillo said. 


The university moved to create a more comfortable environment around the library to inspire learning, studying, teamwork and introspection, according to Carrillo. While the library has a variety of literature, music, media and a digital repository, it has yet to fully provide its visitors with an assortment of cozy spaces.  

The library’s reconstruction includes remodeling of the A-floor in the north building and an additional reading and study space on the second floor of the north building.


The library opened back in 1958 and has been an educational hub for decades. It expanded with the addition of the JFK Memorial Library in 1969, with further structural upgrades to both buildings in the 1990s and in 2015. 


The plans for reconstruction are a part of the Library Master plan, according to the University Library Strategic Directions Plan.  The idea is to remake the library into an advanced place of discovery and higher academic knowledge, but further plans have been put on hold. 


Bookshelves on the third floor of the north wing have been emptied, cordoned off with tape and placed under maintenance. On the second floor in the north building, several air blowers loudly direct air into the ceilings to restore water damage. Water damage often occurs from heavy rainfall or leaks from the ceiling. 


Carrillo manages the library’s collection of books and is involved in the transportation of collections and items in the library facilities. 


He makes sure that books and items are moved accordingly based on available spaces to accommodate construction projects. Some of these books have moved on and off certain shelves and up or down floors.


Although books may not be out on the floor, students are still able to check out physical books. Just reach out to the nearest librarian with your Cal State LA ID one card in hand, and they will retrieve it from the back. There is also a way to checkout items through a self-checkout system on an app called “Meescan.” 


“What is not on the shelves is in storage but can still be requested. If you search for an item on the library website and the item is in storage, you will see the location and request option,” Carrillo said.


As to when the library will resume construction, Carrillo said that he hopes it won’t interfere with people’s enjoyment of the library spaces. Most of the library will remain untouched by future renovation plans.


“What actual plans have been delayed, that I do not know,” Carrillo said. “Only the administration would know that.”


Director of Operations and User Experiences/Services David McCaslin has worked in many academic libraries, such as Wardman Library at Whittier College and in Seeley G. Mudd libraries at Yale, before starting at Cal State LA in June 2023. There are plans for these particular floors to be closed at the beginning of February. However, McCaslin said that the Special Collections and Archive Reading Rooms will remain open for anyone needing them. 


 Tables and study nooks on the two floors will be transported to the library’s north wing, primarily Level A. 


“The vacated shelving provides us with an opportunity to re-envision those areas to increase & modernize student study spaces,” McCaslin said.


The empty shelves on the north third floor are due to collections being shifted. That may be the reason why there are many empty shelves. There are many ways to still check out a book if needed.


Eric Cholakians is a first-year electrical engineering major at Cal State LA. Cholakians said he depends on the library to study and “escape” to a quiet place. He said he doesn’t have an issue with the potential noise future renovations can bring on. 


“I think it’s good that they are renovating it. When you renovate, you preserve the building,”  Cholakians said. “It’s something that can benefit the community as a whole.”


 Future renovations may cause disruptions to students who study in the library. 


“There’s a bunch of different stuff in there. I can grab something to eat while I study,” said Seiji Kim, a communications major. “It’s kind of cool, kind of cozy in a way, you know?”


Seiji likes that the library has become a common hang-out area for him and his friends, he feels that it’s a relaxing place to study.


Kim Roger, a fourth-year art major, isn’t quite sure he’ll like the changes that the library is making. However, he said he hopes that the library will adopt a more understandable organization system for their books. 


“I really don’t know what the letters on the bookshelves mean, or rather where books are organized,” Roger said.


“Construction is tentatively scheduled to be completed by fall 2024,” McCaslin said.


Despite not having an official date for the February construction, there will be proper communication and signage, according to McCaslin. 

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About the Contributors
Brian Lai
Brian Lai, Community News Digital Editor & Distribution Manager
Brian Lai is an English major, and an UT reporter that writes mostly about Calstate LA’s campus. He covers campus events, issues and highlights, and other related topics. 
Christiane Rios, Multimedia Reporter
Christiane Rios is a multimedia reporter for the University Times (UT). She has experience with poetry and concert photography. She's also feminist, vegan and musician. When she's not writing for the UT she's either playing her bass or working out. Christiane is also a punk singer and enjoys singing against the patriarchy.

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