Third floor of UB's Capen library set to reopen in fall 2016

UB officials plan to unveil renovated library this fall


Almost two years and more $8 million later, UB students will finally get the opportunity to experience the newly-renovated Oscar A. Silverman Library on the third floor of Capen Hall this fall.

The third floor will officially reopen on the first day of the fall semester, Aug. 29, 2016, according to Kathleen Quinlivan, senior assistant librarian.

The library, affectionately dubbed “Club Capen” by students, closed down on Dec. 16, 2014 for renovation. The reopening was originally scheduled for November 2015, but after a few setbacks it was ultimately delayed. These setbacks included construction concerns and asbestos fibers in the vinyl floor tiles of the library in April 2015.

The budgeted cost of the renovation totaled in $8,900,000, according to UB Spokesperson John Della Contrada.

The library closed down as part of the Heart of The Campus, an initiative that aims to renovate all three of UB’s campuses.

“The renovations are transforming Silverman into an open, light-filled, technology-enriched library space that reflects the diverse ways in which students learn, study and interact with information in the 21st century,” Quinlivan said.

The renovated library will feature casual group and individual study spaces where students can “unplug or plug in,” according to Quinlivan.

It will also include One Button Studios and media editing stations where students can create, edit and view media productions. The library will be enclosed with new technology spaces where students can work on group projects, including group study rooms with large screen monitors and technology systems.

The Grand Reading Room will serve as the library’s silent study area. The room is comprised of wood paneling, offering students a comfortable place to read and study in silence, Quinlivan said.

The library will have a café, which will be overseen by Campus Dining & Shops. There will also be two flexible, high technology classrooms for workshops and study alcoves where groups of six to eight people can meet.

“The Heart of the Campus project is transforming Silverman Library into an exciting, state-of-the art destination for UB students, faculty and staff,” said H. Austin Booth, vice provost for University Libraries. “With new group study spaces, expansive common areas and interactive technologies, Silverman will be a vibrant learning space where students meet, learn, study, think, reflect and create new knowledge to build the future.”

Karen Senglaup, associate university librarian for Administration said UB Libraries have been planning this transformation for many years and are “delighted that it’s happening.”

Lockwood Memorial Library has served as UB’s only 24-hour library since the renovation of the third floor began in 2014.

Other small-scale renovation projects are currently underway at the university, according to Della Contrada.

Officials are working to replace the skylight, north stairs and entrance plaza at the Center for The Arts.

Architects and contractors are also working within the Natural Sciences Complex to cut in the new corridor entrance and renovate existing lab spaces in rooms 405, 407 and 411.

Pedestrian bridge and sidewalk repairs are currently underway in the Student Union‐Commons area and several halls across the university.

Over on South Campus, Hayes Hall is currently in its final phase of restoration.

The third and fourth floor of Michael Hall, which houses UB’s Student Health Center, will become dorm facilities for incoming freshmen in the fall.

Senglaup said the newly renovated third floor of Silverman Library has “one truly distinctive feature” from other libraries on campus: it contains no books.

“So many of our most important resources are now available online, thus freeing up much-needed space to create attractive, convenient, comfortable, secure places for students to contemplate, collaborate and create new knowledge,” she said.

Ashley Inkumsah is the co-senior news editor and can be reached at