Library Renovation

by Steven E. Opfer -

While the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library in the middle of the Norfolk State University campus was servicing patrons digitally 24/7 during the pandemic, the iconic building was closed from March 2020 to September 2020. Nonetheless, a lot was happening in that building over this past year. The majority of the first floor was undergoing major renovation. Now the first phase of that renovation is complete.

One of the most visible new features is an interactive media lounge that serves as a high traffic pass-through to the glass rotunda. Four digital screens can work independently or as one large screen and display cable television, digital or streaming sources, or serve as an interactive Solstice Pod that will display from a mobile device. The lounge area also includes a selfie wall just outside of the main traffic path.

Another highly visible feature is the new lounge seating across most of the first floor’s north wing in front of the Writing Center. New furniture, in most cases equipped with power outlets for device charging, sprawls across the main area in vibrant colors and will accommodate small groups or couples for collaboration or quiet conversation. This area is also sprinkled with groups of individual study pods for those that might want more privacy or individual space.

The renovation also includes two new makerspaces. One of the makerspaces is devoted to sewing and should prove useful to fashion design students, as well as an outlet for making costumes for the theatre and drama program. The other makerspace is devoted to 3D printing. Since the library is retaining its previous 3D printing lab, this means Norfolk State now has some of the highest 3D printing capability in all of Hampton Roads.

The 700 Perk Café has also been restored in this renovation. The self-serve vending lounge is the perfect place to grab a quick snack, meet a friend in the middle of campus, and have some quiet conversation.

More renovations to the first floor are coming in the next phases of construction. The far end of the north wing will have new video gaming facilities, a business center, an observation classroom, a computer lab capable of graphic design and multimedia production, and a One-Touch recording studio where patrons can record themselves, by themselves, in front of a green screen that displays digital images in the recording.

Please excuse the mess as the renovation continues. But, in the meantime, enjoy the brand new facilities this year in Norfolk State’s campus library.