In surveys of library users, Baker consistently gets high marks for its collections and services, but very low marks for its physical amenities. However, the days of trying to study at Baker despite the drone of the fans, blowing paper and heat and humidity are numbered.
The School is now planning for major renovations to the building to begin in the summer of 2003, the first major renovation of the library section of the building since it was constructed in 1927.
For the renovation to begin, the collections, services and staff at Baker Library will have to be temporarily housed elsewhere on campus and beyond. Arrangements are now being made for this to happen with minimal disruption of services. The first stage in this process will be an evaluation of the titles in the Reference Collection in the Reading Room. Items made redundant by the availability of electronic resources, and out of date or little used titles will be moved to the stacks, or in some cases discarded if doing so will not impede current or future scholarship. The result should be a smaller reference collection where it is easier to locate needed titles and information.
Other steps soon to get underway include the transfer of bound volumes of periodicals from the Baker Reading Room to the stacks and evaluation of periodical titles in the Reading Room for inclusion in the temporary space.
The renovations that are planned encompass more than the Library. The renovated building is designed to be an academic center, housing additional faculty offices and faculty support staff functions such as research associates, the Faculty Research Computing Center and work space for doctoral students. While some inconvenience will be inevitable over the next few years, the result will be a state of the art building that supports the technology and research requirements of the School while preserving the architectural distinction of Baker Library.