Renovated Bancroft Library Reopens On Campus

Photo: Bancroft Library reopens.
Nathan Yan/Staff
Bancroft Library reopens.

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After a nearly four year hiatus, UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library has returned to its freshly renovated location adjacent to Doe Memorial Library on campus.

The $64 million renovation included a seismic retrofit and numerous other improvements.

Half the project's budget was provided by California Proposition 47, which helps to fund seismic retrofits, and the UC Office of the President. The remaining $32 million for additional remodeling was raised by the library from private donors.

The library was flagged as high priority for seismic retrofitting in the early nineties, according to Principal Archivist for Pictorial Collections James Eason.

When funding was allocated for the project, library officials decided to schedule several other improvements, including climate-controlled storage for rare materials, additional gallery space for exhibitions and complete interior remodeling.

"The interior was gutted and it was rebuilt from the inside out so you can't tell from the outside that its true, but if you knew the building from 2005, you may not recognize it today," Eason said.

Students visiting the library were impressed with the renovation and said they found the interior visually striking.

During the renovation, the library temporarily opened its doors at an off-campus location, functioning at a diminished capacity before closing again this past May to prepare for the move back.

"We made sure all the collections were stabilized and ready and movable," said Terry Boom, who participated in the library's Collections Preparation Task Force, which was created for the move. "Some of our oversized manuals and maps were not accessible because they were too difficult to transport and whatnot."

The library houses many rare collections-particularly those with a Western Americana focus. It is currently hosting an exhibition of original Mark Twain papers entitled "Mark Twain at Play" in its new downstairs gallery.

Reflecting the library's physical changes, the librarians are implementing new systems to take better care of the library's collection.

"We're doing the same things we've always done, but because the space is different, it has changed a lot of our internal procedures," library assistant David Kessler said. "It's a whole new regime."

Contact Kat Murti at [email protected]

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