Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, students and staff re-enacted a 1965 human conveyor belt for books to mark the opening of the renovated Neumann library.
Neumann opened its renovated library on August 28 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reenactment of a “human conveyor belt” book transfer that occurred almost 50 years ago. Sisters and students lined up in the library and passed into the new facility, by hand, the last few books in the collection, which had been housed during construction in the Bruder Life Center. The human-chain book transfer replicated the 1965 method used to convey more than 23,000 books from Our Lady of Angels Convent to Bachmann Main Building when the university first opened.
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia turned out in large numbers to celebrate the new library facility.
Father Philip Lowe, university chaplain,
blessed the library.
Sculptor Steven Kilpatrick, his wife Maryann, and
Dr. Mirenda unveil the bust of St. John Neumann, created especially for the library.
The ceremony itself featured remarks by Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, president; Henry Sumner, vice president for institutional advancement and university relations; Dr. Gerard O’Sullivan, vice president for academic affairs; and Tiffany McGregor, library director. University officials also unveiled a bust of St. John Neumann and a plaque thanking donors during the event.
“This is for our students,” said McGregor. “For years, we polled you and surveyed you and focus grouped you and talked to you in the hallways to learn what you wanted … and this is it. I am beside myself with glee to welcome you.”
Dr. Mirenda called the renovated library “emblematic of our drive to be student-centered and student-focused.”
The eight-month, $3.5 million library renovation project began in December 2013 and was completed by August 25, the first day of fall semester classes.
Grants from the Connelly Foundation ($200,000) and the George I. Alden Trust ($100,000) assisted with the library refurbishing. The grants helped leverage the $1.3 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is awarded through the Delaware County Redevelopment Authority.
The renovated library space is modern and flexible, equipped with different niches and study areas. Groups needing to study together or collaborate on projects are able to take advantage of one of the new multi-media equipped study rooms. The Library Reading Room provides an area for quiet concentration.
The number of computers in the renovated space has increased, and visitors are able to log onto one from new and spacious computer clusters. Students wishing to use their own laptop or tablet find it easy to do so in the transformed library, which features strengthened Wi-Fi access and numerous electrical outlets for charging devices.
According to McGregor, “A new multi-purpose room serves as the home for the Neumann University Information Literacy program, where librarians and faculty can collaborate to instruct students and develop the vital critical thinking and information literacy skills to help them achieve in the classroom and in the job markets of the future.”
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