University Rising: LaGuardia Community College Library

STUDENTS AT LAGUARDIA Community College will soon see the benefits of one of the most significant capital projects in the campus’s history—a much-anticipated $15 million expansion and renovation of the college library.

Expected to open in May after more than two years of construction, the new library will add a second floor and 21,000 square feet of space, enlarging the total area by nearly 60 percent. The project, an important element of LaGuardia’s master plan, brings a long-needed modern library to a college with 19,000 full-time students and a national reputation among large community colleges.

The expansion will nearly double the capacity of the library to 732 seats and add 11 new study rooms as well as new reading rooms, a new media lab, faculty suites, archive space and 50 new offices. To accommodate the expansion, faculty offices were moved to unused space in another building, a triumph of efficiency for a campus where available space is hard to come by.

The project includes reorganizing and upgrading the space on the first floor and connecting it to the new second floor with a staircase and expanded elevator service. The first-floor renovation adapts to the digitalization of academic libraries in the past decade, a dramatic transformation that replaces shelves crammed with books with open areas designed for students with laptops.

The renovation also includes another kind of upgrade: natural light. The first floor will have windows—a big architectural change for a campus whose academic buildings were once warehouses and factories.