The UCSD libraries recently unveiled a renovated, interdisciplinary Arts Library that includes the latest in digital technology infrastructure, including digital media production studios and high-definition media work stations.
The renovations began in winter 2007, spurred by changes in technology and the way patrons were using the library's collections, services, and spaces.
According to director Leslie Abrams, while these technology features are not common in most art libraries today, for the UCSD Arts Library, investing in leading-edge technology and digital infrastructure was par for the course.
In 2004, the library teamed up with the Mellon Foundation to build the core content for ARTstor, the digital image repository that set a new national standard for high-quality digital images in support of instruction and scholarship.
"We were early adopters in using digital technology to expand access to content, notably our electronic reserves efforts for audio, still images, and moving images," Abrams said. "The UCSD Arts Library was the first library to digitize its entire slide collection; more than 200,000 slide images from UCSD's collections were digitized to form the core of the ARTstor Slide Gallery, which is now utilized by art and academic institutions throughout the world."
The renovated library, with its continuous wall of vividly colored glass panels, includes a single service desk; small group viewing rooms; a self-serve scanning station; graduate student lockers; wireless connectivity; and open spaces for study, research, and collaboration. It also has space for exhibits and events.
"In today's challenging budget climate, the type of investment needed for a major library renovation like this would just not be possible," said Abrams. "I'm glad that we were able to make the commitment and investment needed to undertake this renovation."
The Arts Library is also interdisciplinary, incorporating the previous libraries of Art & Architecture, Music, and Film & Video to meet the needs of faculty and students in visual arts, music, film, theatre, and dance. This consolidation was envisioned a decade ago, and reflects the interdisciplinary nature of scholarship in the arts and other academic areas.
The Arts Library is housed in the iconic flagship building, Geisel Library. The colorful glass walls that define the Arts Library space tip their hat to the multicolored glass installation by artist John Baldessari — "Read/Write/
Think/Dream" — that graces the entrance to Geisel Library.
In addition to the Arts Library's enhanced infrastructure for the delivery of digital and analog media, including high-definition viewing, UCSD students and other patrons also benefit from an expansion of service hours and access to arts reserves and media collections. The library is open 96 hours per week, including until midnight Sunday-Thursday during the academic quarter.
The nine libraries that comprise the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and the public. The libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.
— UCSD Communications