Jackson Library Renovation

Overview and Updates | Collections Data | Frequently or Recently Asked Questions | Timeline and Process

Overview and Updates

We are very excited that the campus has received funding to renovate Jackson Library! We look forward to working with the campus to design a library that will serve UNCG and the community for decades to come. Construction is not expected to begin until early in 2025.

We will be using this site to provide the UNCG campus community with updates and information.

October 10, 2023

Great news! The state budget contains an extra $17.6 million for our renovation. The money is meant to account for the large inflationary increases to construction costs and materials over the past few years. The Design Oversight Committee will be considering the best ways to use the new funds, but the library has already decided to move forward with an expansion of our remote shelving facility. When completed, its new capacity will be equivalent two Jackson tower floors.

June 26, 2023

The advance planning phase has now concluded. The Executive Summary outlines the locations and amount of space allocated to library services, collections, and staff. We are now moving into the schematic design phase, during which we can make adjustments to the advance planning design and begin working on more detailed implementation plans within each space.

May 11, 2023

Constructed in 1973, the Jackson Library tower was intended to serve a population of only 6,000 students. It was built before the advent of personal computers and the internet, with the tower floors designed as non-browsable "closed stacks" delivering books to the circulation desk via a system of pneumatic tubes and dumb waiters. As you might imagine, we are excited by the opportunity to renovate the tower and create the “library of the future”!

Although not all renovation details have yet been finalized, we do know that we will be reducing the number of print items housed in the Jackson tower. There are two primary reasons for the reduction. First, the current number of public seats and amount of learner space fall woefully short of national standards. Second, ADA compliance issues will require us to widen aisles between shelves. The Renovation Design Oversight Committee is committed to meeting national standards and following ADA requirements. Consequently, the Libraries will begin removing 150,000 volumes.

We will move 120,000 to remote storage elsewhere on campus. The items will remain available through our catalog, and will usually be retrievable within 2 days. Because we would not want to move our most heavily used items out of Jackson, we will focus on moving items that have circulated only once or never in the past 30 years.

We will donate 30,000 volumes to a non-profit. We will focus on low use journals, directories, concordances, and other items not meant to be read cover to cover. We only intend to donate monographs in cases where we have unneeded duplicate copies or old editions.

It is likely we will have to do a smaller, supplemental removal of additional items from the tower before the renovation. But we can’t estimate those numbers until we have more information regarding the capacity of a proposed, additional remote storage facility and until we are able to see how much Jackson floor space we clear as we remove the 150,000 volumes.

When the renovation is complete, we expect our combined electronic/print collection to exceed our current collection count of about 3.6 million book and journal volumes. And we expect to have a large on-campus print collection with well over a million total items. And any needed items that we do not own can be requested via interlibrary loan. We will have a strong, robust collection and an exciting, newly redesigned building that better meets the needs of UNCG’s extraordinarily diverse community.

March 2023

LS3P worked with the campus and the Design Oversight Committee to establish the following guiding priciples for the renovation:

  • Create a welcoming and inclusive library environment that reflects the inspiring diversity of the UNCG community and fosters a sense of ownership and belonging.
  • Leverage space and technology to foster innovation, promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and empower students of all academic levels to reach their highest potential.
  • Provide a collection of library partners that collaboratively establishes student success criteria and provides the tools for students to succeed.
  • Provide strong and diverse collections that support the teaching, research, and learning needs of the institution.
  • Develop an integrated services library model that establishes the Jackson Library as the heart of campus and serves as a retention/recruitment vehicle for students and faculty.
  • Leverage the library to deepen the connection with the community.

January 19, 2023
First Design Meetings of 2023

The Design Team is back on our campus this week. They are holding meetings with the Design Oversight Committee, and will be meeting with a student group this evening to solicit input on the best ways the new library design can support DEI and help all students feel welcome.

October 31, 2022
Faculty Feedback Opportunities for Fall 2022

Drop-in Faculty Engagement Sessions will be held November 15th and 16th, 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM at the EUC's Dail Room. The Design Team is eager to hear faculty perspectives and ideas relating to the renovation project.

The Design Team will also be holding a Zoom meeeting with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to solicit additional input.

October 13, 2022
Communication Plan and Feedback Opportunities for Fall 2022

The Design Team (which includes architects, designers, project managers, and the builder) spent a week on campus. They met with and got feedback from the Provost, the Deans, potential library partners, student success, and the the Student Government Association. They also offered 3 pop-ups and via Campus Weekly and other mechanisms, they shared a link to an online survey. At this point in the process, the questions are mostly broad and conceptual. It will be a while before we have detailed discussions of how many square feet should be allocated to a specific function or service.

The next round of input involved library departments and was held via Zoom in early and mid October. The Design Team will be meeting with the Chancellor on Halloween.

The week of 11/14 they will return to campus and plan to meet with the minority and DEI student group, heads of student leadership groups, the Chancellor and University Counsel, Teaching and Learning, library and campus leadership, and faculty. We will share dates and times when they are available.

September 27, 2022

This week marks the start of the Jackson Library Addition and Renovation project. In this early stage, we will be spending months soliciting input from our many stakeholders via a variety of visioning and engagement sessions. The first will be a series of "pop-up" sessions on Wednesday, September 28th.

  • 8:30a - 10a @ Moran Commons
  • 11:30a - 1p @ EUC
  • 4p - 5:30p @ Jackson Library
You can also provide feedback via an online survey. More opportunities for input will be announced soon.

May 18, 2022
Design Oversight Committee Announcement

Bob Shea, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, has approved the following membership of the Design Oversight Committee for the library renovation project:

  • Chuck Bolton, Professor of History and Associate Dean, CAS
  • Tim Bucknall, Assistant Dean of Libraries and Head of Electronic Resources and Information Technologies, and Associate Professor
  • Michael Crumpton, Dean of Libraries and Professor
  • David Friedman, University Architect
  • Buddy Hale, FDC Architect
  • Amy Harris Houk, Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning for the University Libraries, and Professor
  • Emily Janke, Director of the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement, and Associate Professor
  • Sameer Kapileshwari, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities
  • Steve Morley, Director of Space Utilization and Planning
  • Samantha Raynor, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Success
  • Delana Reinard, FDC Project Manager
  • Jone Soter, Director of Facilities Operations
  • LaTesha Velez, Assistant Professor, LIS

April 22, 2022
An Open Letter to the UNCG Campus

This open letter to our campus colleagues is intended to provide information about the process for planning for the $81M expansion and renovation of Jackson Library, which has been eagerly anticipated and urgently needed. Constructed in 1973, the Jackson Library tower was intended to serve a population of only 6,000 students. It was built before the advent of personal computers and the internet, and the shelving was designed to be non-browsable "closed stacks." As you might expect, we are very excited about building the "library of the future" on our campus and we look forward to your input and ideas as this project moves forward.

UNCG has recently selected a designer, LS3P, who will work with the campus community to determine design priorities and take our aging building to the next level of contemporary design and function. Nationally, most recent academic library renovations have emphasized digital-age learning, enhanced by a safe, updated infrastructure and modernized learning spaces that enable collaborative research in a comfortable, engaging environment. Other common design elements include spaces for the creation and development of digital projects and research data. Largely due to significant drops in print usage across academic libraries of all sizes, most renovations involve converting some shelving areas to spaces for convening, collaboration, and knowledge creation.

The renovation of the Jackson tower will require us to comply with modern building codes. Specifically, ADA compliance and the installation of a fire suppression system will significantly reduce our shelving capacity. A large (but yet to be determined) number of books will be affected. No decisions have yet been made about the disposition of books removed from the tower. All options are being explored, and over the next few months, faculty, staff, and student input will be solicited.

We know faculty and staff care deeply about the library, as we do. While there is a strong consensus that the library should retain a print collection, there are good reasons to reflect on whether we can or should retain the print collection at its current size. The following realities will be important to consider:

  • From 2013/14 to 2020/21, the faculty per-person print book check out fell by 71% (from 10.3 per year to 3.0 per year). Graduate student use declined from 4.9 to 0.7, and undergraduate fell from 1.8 to 0.3. While one might immediately presume the decline in print book checkout is due to the pandemic, most of the decline occurred before the pandemic. This precipitous drop isn't a uniquely UNCG phenomenon; it mirrors a national trend.
  • Because of the declining usage, many libraries are reducing their print collections. Being librarians, we have developed cooperative mechanisms to ensure that we keep enough copies of each book to share with one another via Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and that no books are ever "lost" to future generations.
  • If we do decide to remove a book from UNCG's print collection, we plan to digitize the content and donate the physical item to a non-profit. The book would still be available in our catalog, but instead of a call number for an item on the shelf there would be a link to the ebook. There would be no reduction in the number of titles available to our faculty and students. It is also important to note that ebooks are generally considered to be far more accessible than print. Many have a multiuser model, and we know that off campus, vision impaired, mobility challenged, dyslexic, and other important members of the UNCG family are not well served by print books in a tower. Converting some print books to online makes our collections more accessible, not less, and is consistent with national practice and our EDI values.
  • Although our print usage is declining, our e-resource usage is increasing, and we are witnessing record overall usage of the library’s collections. About 95% of our usage is currently of digital formats. That number has been growing for years and is likely to continue, as is typical at most current academic libraries.

For many years, UNCG students and faculty have been part of a national movement away from print and towards e-formats. Our new library renovation should acknowledge that reality while still respecting the need to maintain a strong collection of print materials. We should also offer students, faculty, staff, and the community access to quiet study spaces, group interaction areas, expert staff, and cutting edge technologies. All of these disparate needs must be balanced within the library's physical space and within our renovation budget.

We look forward to engaging with the campus community to develop a forward-thinking plan. We will remain transparent and focused on the needs of all library users. Our vision of the library of the future is not just about improving one building. On the contrary, it is about ensuring that the library remains the vibrant heart of the campus and continues to serve all of its many diverse stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, and community members. To be successful in the long run, this facility must be designed and built with both present and future perspectives in mind.

"The library is for everyone" has been stated consistently since this project started. We owe it to each of our stakeholders - past, present, and future - to make sound decisions that will allow us to continue to support the University's academic mission, while being mindful of trends and future expectations for the library of the future. Having a library with a reputation of forward-thinking ideals and commitment to individual services will better position Jackson Library and UNCG for the future.

Currently the expected timeline is as follows:

  • Kick-off meeting with designers; UNCG Facilities, Design, and Construction; and oversight committee mid to later summer of 2022
  • Programming and design work is expected to last through early summer of 2024. This includes a variety of assessment methods and stakeholder feedback in considering options before final construction documents are developed.
  • Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2024 with a projected completion date 3 years later in the summer of 2027.

Our contemplations over the years of balancing collection shelving footprints with life/safety issues has produced a variety of "what ifs" and as we move into the reality of "our time has come" we want to be sure of two things: we want to make the best decisions for our community, and be good stewards of the funding we have been given. As we approach this project, our aim is to listen to our stakeholders and take all views into consideration. We will provide regular updates for the campus at large as we move through this process.

Mike Crumpton, Dean of University Libraries

Tim Bucknall, Assistant Dean for Electronic Resources and IT

Amy Harris Houk, Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning

April 2022

Questions about the renovation? Ask Mike Crumpton, Dean of University Libraries.

Questions about potential renovation impact on collections? Ask Tim Bucknall, Assistant Dean for Electronic Resources and IT.

Overview and Updates | Collections Data | Frequently or Recently Asked Questions | Timeline and Process