Photographs by Jose Velazco and Jeff Kennel.
Inside the University’s utterly amazingly renovated Clark Library, which reopens this fall after many months of reinvention and reimagination.
It took more than a year. It entailed the entire staff and most of the contents of the library moving to various locations on campus. It cost more than 12 million dollars, for which the University community is wildly grateful to hundreds of Campaign donors, among them alumni, regents, foundations, corporations, and many friends of clearly shining intellect. It allows glorious light into a building that could charitably have been called shadowy inside. It turns the library to face the busy quad rather than a narrow sidewalk. It boasts new Douglas fir ceilings, apt and suitable here in the fir forest. It has new display space for the University’s copy of the rare Saint John’s Bible, and the musical scores that composer Aaron Copland gave us, and the vast collection of Northwest literature left by the beloved Father Art Schoenfeldt, C.S.C., at his death. There’s a beyond-cool digital lab for audio, video, photography, and design projects. There’s a classroom, bless its heart. There’s a fireplace lounge, bless Rich Baek’s generosity. There’s a study room named for University benefactor Lee Brenneisen, the bestread person we have ever met. There’s a study room named for Julia and Dan Danielson, which is apt because Dan’s firm Soderstrom Architects rebuilt the library not to mention ten other buildings on campus over the last twenty years, bless their hearts for reimagining the entire Bluff. There’s a whole new energy conservation system which will save the University untold dollars.
It is the herculean effort that completely renovated the Clark Library, which we can say, with admiration and something like awe, is the University’s newest educational space. More than fifty years after it was first built it is born again, dreamed anew. Come visit if you have a chance.