It’s been about a year in the making, but the renovation work at the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library on the Health Sciences Campus at Augusta University is starting to wind down, and they are on target for a grand reopening in January 2023.
The second-floor renovation work is finished, minus a few small details, and the new entrance that will face Laney-Walker Boulevard, which has the first floor of the library closed off until completion, is expected by late November.
Brad Warren, dean of libraries, said most of that entrance work is being done at night to keep noise at a minimum for those using the second floor space.
“We’re providing full services in all respects, the computer labs as well as library services, and people can come check it out and see the new space,” said Warren.
Once the first-floor renovation work is completed, additional initiatives will create permanent displays documenting some of the history of the campus as well as exciting partnerships with the medical illustration program.
“Next year represents the 60th anniversary of the Greenblatt Library, so we’re working on a combination of events and exhibits building up to that next October,” added Warren.
With both the Medical College of Georgia and the Dental College of Georgia nearby, Warren wants to take advantage of their history and significance. The library has the historical collections and archives, but it’s only open during normal business hours or for events. He wants to showcase some of the history and older medical equipment in the public space where everyone can see it, even pop-up exhibits for people to appreciate the history of MCG.
“It’s actually really cool to see what it was like to be a student here in the 1850s. It’s an element that people really enjoy and I think it helps current and potential students connect meaningfully to the legacy of the school as well,” Warren said.
He envisions the renovated library to be a gathering space for the health sciences community, faculty, staff, students, patients and even visitors not just to pursue their studies, but also to relax and decompress from the rigors of everyday life.
“What I’m trying to do is to raise the aesthetic of what’s happening in the first floor. The second floor will remain quiet, but the first floor will be a vibrant gathering space where students, faculty and other employees want to hang out and interact with each other. That’s what I’m trying to create down there.”
Augusta University has made a major investment in the library system that includes a $500,000 increase for its collections, and Warren knows libraries are an integral part of the campus’s success going forward.
He frames that success through three areas: facilities, collections and employee expertise.
Greenblatt Library is not just an MCG space, Warren said. It’s a place for the community and belongs to everyone. He feels it’s important for everyone to be comfortable there, but also a place for people to get things done.
“If you need to be free from distraction, you need to gather with folks who need to do something, this space enables you to be successful,” he said.
“With the collections, it really comes down to meeting the curriculum and the research needs of the campus. It’s not just physical books in the collection, but significant electronic resources, but they are expensive.”
Warren also knows the staff of the libraries play a major role with their expertise in a wide variety of subjects. He works closely with the deans of the various colleges to make sure they are providing the right services to students.
“Library employees are a vital network for the campus. We are asked questions and we provide instruction about anything and everything through our interactions with faculty, students, staff and patients. While we may not always know the answer, we know who does and are dedicated to ensuring our community is successful,” he said.