The main entrance to Perkins Library will close next summer to enable additional renovations.
Over the summer, the lobby will be expanded to enclose the covered outdoor terrace. The slope and drainage at the Perkin's entrance will also be adjusted to prevent water from accumulating outside the door—an issue that often caused the outside of the library to resemble a "moat," said Deborah Jakubs, vice provost for library affairs and Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway university librarian. The summer renovations will mark the end of 10 years of construction projects across Perkins Library, which began with the construction of Bostock Library and the Von der Heyden Pavilion in 2003.
“It will give us the kind of entrance that a library of the stature of Duke’s deserves,” Jakubs said.
Construction will only take place over the summer to inconvenience as few students as possible, said Aaron Welborn, director of communications for Duke University Libraries.
During the renovations, the entrances under the Perkins-Bostock connector will become the primary entries to the libraries, Welborn said. He added that Perkins Gallery will close and Von der Heyden will be accessible from its outside door.
The step currently outside the main Perkins entrance that many trip on will also be removed, Jakubs said.
Most students will not have to adjust to the entrance closing—along with ongoing construction to Rubenstein Library, the West Union building and the Bryan Center Plaza—during the school year.
Some students are still concerned the closing will be an inconvenience for those present over the summer.
“Renovations are all well and good but they don’t need to throw them all at us at once,” said sophomore Brooks Sime, who is planning to take summer courses.
Welborn noted that the only potential concern is loud noise from the construction. Free earplugs are currently available to anyone who needs them.
The ongoing Rubenstein library renovations are slated to be complete in 2015.
Rubenstein Library Director Naomi Nelson said the upgraded library will include more space for researchers and students to work as well as for public gatherings. New additions include two new classrooms that will allow for in-class access to the special collections, more than twice as much exhibition space and an expanded reading room with greater technological capacity.
The Biddle Rare Book Room, which previously was locked due to the value of its contents, will now be open most of the time so more students can use the space, Nelson added.
“Rubenstein will have its own aesthetic—it will be compatible, but it will be very much based on the limestone and oak that were traditional to the original library,” Nelson said.
Welborn said preparing for the renovations was no small task.
‘We calculated that we had to move over 32,000 linear feet of rare books and archive materials,” he said. “I can even tell you that’s about two and a half great blue whales’ weight of books.”
Correction: The Chronicle previously reported that a moat will be built to aid in water drainage. The slope at the Perkins entrance will actually be adjusted to aid in water drainage. The Chronicle regrets the error.