The hallmark of almost any college campus is its library, and the case is no different at Sweet Briar. When Meta Glass became the third president of the College, she initiated a building program, hoping to construct a library, an auditorium, and a gymnasium. President Glass considered a new library to be the most important aspect of the 1928 Development Plan. (The old library still stands on campus today! After being moved to a new foundation on Elijah Road, it was the main building of the music department. It now serves as both faculty housing and storage and is playfully referred to as “The Music Box.”) In October of 1929, construction began on a new library, thanks to the generous donation of Fergus Reid in memory of his mother, Mary Helen Cochran. Ralph Adams Cram was called in as the head architect once again, and his project became the most decorative and ornamental building on campus. While our library remains one of the most structurally interesting in America, there is always room for improvement, and because of this, a generous group of donors has been raising money for library renovations since the 1980s.
The layout of the library will be changing for the better! There will be additions on the left (behind Fletcher) and in the back. We will also be adding two handicapped accessible entrances so that all students have the opportunity to utilize the upgrades. While our library’s main floor is spacious, there is little room elsewhere for classes or private study. Because of this, the new architects plan to include individual and group study rooms, seminar classrooms, and both formal and informal gathering spaces for community-wide events. Other plans include high-density book storage, an eating area and all sorts of new electronic devices.
These plans are definitely exciting for everyone on campus. The renovations are expected to be completed in time for the fall semester of 2014 – just in time for the beginning of my senior year! I am so excited (and very fortunate) to see how these changes pan out, and all of them are Because of You! Your gifts to the Annual Fund are what help keep our campus beautiful and expand our resources. Make your gift online today at sbc.edu/giving to support our unique architecture!
Photos courtesy of President Parker’s Blog.
Historical information on the library courtesy of The Council of Independent Colleges.
Erin Whiteman `15