From outside, the dome on top of the emerging library looks like a massive expanse of yellow insulation; from inside, it's a honeycomb of beams, ductwork, fixtures, and wires far above a floor coated with construction dust and grime, but all I could think of as I stood beneath it was, "This is neat!"
Today was the first time faculty members have allowed inside the library construction project. We've watched from the other side of the fence as the foundation was poured, walls were erected, bricks were laid and windows installed, but now we walked in small, guided groups through the disorienting honeycomb of unfinished rooms that will someday be the academic hub of our campus. We saw workmen in hardhats performing some mysterious task on top of the elevator shaft, which we would not have been able to identify as an elevator shaft if our guide hadn't told us, and we saw lots of primer, sawdust, and dimly lit corridors.
And space. A lot of the space was crowded with construction tools and materials, but a little creative visualization allowed us to see comfortable seating areas, study rooms, computer terminals, a cafe, a lounge with a virtual fireplace, office space, and classrooms--and, of course, books. It will be a high-tech library, but books still form the heart and soul of the collection.
The new library is slated to open in January, just in time for spring semester, but right now it's clearly a work in progress. Still, as I stood beneath that dome and visualized the stacks of books that will someday reside there, I felt a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. That's my library, and it's really neat.