VCU president Michael Rao, Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton and university librarian John Ulmschneider gathered with donors, administration and other government officials Tuesday to officially open the $50.8 million renovated Cabell Library.
“What we really are celebrating is the future,” Rao said during the opening ceremony of the library. “I still think of libraries as medicine for the soul.”
The 93,000 square feet of renovations is the largest expansion to the library since it first opened in 1970.
Carol Hampton, president of a fundraising and planning organization Friends of VCU Libraries, said the library was an integral part of student life.
“Nobody graduates without a library,” Hampton said.
According to Ulmschneider, much of the funding for the library features came from private funding.
The endowment foundation for the library, the Cabell Foundation announced it would match every $1 million donated.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Ulmschneider indicated that more funds would be divided up with half of all funds saved to future endowment while the other half would go to building stations for nursing mothers, creating accommodations for the deaf and creating an interfaith meditation area.
But for the time being Ulmschneider said that the library’s competition was a major accomplishment for VCU, which now includes an innovative media studio with 3D printers and collaborative work environments, a newly-expanded Starbucks and more open areas for students to work.
“VCU has created one of the country’s most outstanding academic libraries,” Ulmschneider said.
According to the head librarian, VCU students have been very receptive of the new library.
“If you stop any student here you won’t here ‘I like it,’” Ulmschneider said. “You will hear ‘I love it.’”
The library was already the busiest academic library in Virginia, but according to Ulmschneider, use of the library has increased by 30 percent since the new addition.
“Most important thing of all is the students love it. It’s not me, it’s the the students that matter, and they are filling this place like you uncorked a bottle in the water,” Ulmschneider said.
Print News Editor, Andrew Crider
Andrew is a junior economics major who has written for student newspapers since he was in high school. Andrew is interested in political history, aviation, photography and running. He has a tendency to refer to his peers, coworkers and bosses as “ma’am” or “sir,” but is getting better about referring to his friends at the CT by their first names instead. // Facebook