Michener Library Remodel Helps Disabled Students

    Workers move boxes of books into Michener Library, 1971. Photo courtesy UNC Archives.

    Over this past month, Michener Library has completed several changes to the building.

    Built in 1972 as the University Library, and renamed the Michener Library in 1973, the building has always been known to the University of Northern Colorado community as a place for studying, learning, relaxation, connection and more.

    The first library on campus was Carter Hall.  As the weight of all of the books started to make the building sink, all of the books were moved to Michener. 

    Workers move boxes of books from the second story window of Carter Hall to the ground level, 1971. Photo courtesy UNC Archives.

    As the library prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, many projects have been underway. Some that have finished these past months are recarpeting, putting in a video phone for deaf individuals on the first floor, moving bookshelves, lighting and adding sprinklers. 

    When the library was first built, the majority of the floors did not have sprinkler systems. Because of this, the library has placed sprinklers on all floors and made sure that all of the bookshelves are at least 36 inches apart to follow ADA guidelines. 


    Jayne Blodgett, associate dean of libraries, said that the library was not purposely disregarding ADA compliance, but there was more that went into this project than just putting in the sprinklers and moving light fixtures. 

    What seemed like a simple task became very complicated as this project took over 10 months to complete. Library staff have expressed their gratitude to David White, head of collection services, who helped with the projects. The library also thanked all of the teams who made these projects possible. 

    Now that this project is complete, the team is focusing their time on creating and imagining other projects with facilities. Some of these projects include a multipurpose room by the late night study session rooms, nestable and moveable furniture and more. The ultimate goal for these projects and the remodeling is to have a cohesive plan throughout all levels of the library. 

    Jenniffer Nutefall, dean of libraries, said that she likes to look at the big picture of the renovations and what it will look like at the end. 

    “Imagine that this entire floor, there were no walls. What kind of space would you build? Say, what needs to be on the first floor?” she said. 

    Nutefall even brought up enhancing the main stairwell of Michener with either a mural, a mosaic piece or art done by students.

    A change that Blodgett wants is to move the location of the gender neutral bathroom on the first floor to somewhere more private. She also brought up that there should be a gender neutral bathroom on all of the floors in the library. 

    The library will be sending out surveys starting in the spring semester in an effort to make the projects a collaborative piece with students. These surveys will be sent to a sample of students at the university. 

    “We don’t want to oversurvey students,” Nutefall said.

    There will be other ways to provide feedback in the meantime. Inside the library, there are comment boxes where students, faculty and even visitors can drop off their ideas for what they would like to see for the remodels. 

    “We’ll do some, what in the assessment world is called passive assessment, where we’ll set up like a whiteboard and say ‘what do you wish was in the building’ or have pictures of libraries and say ‘put a plus sign or a happy face next to what you like’,” Blodgett said. 

    Feedback from the community will help to know what short term and long term goals the library should be focusing on regarding popularity and funding for the projects.


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