UPDATE: SF State library installing doors, windows during final stages of construction

In the furthest northwestern part of the SF State campus, students can be heard catching their breath after making the long trek to the temporary library facilities located in Annex I.

The library was moved three years ago when rebuilding and retrofitting began on the the J. Paul Leonard Library’s central campus location.

“We’ve been scattered,” said library assistant Francisco Ortiz Hopkins. “But this new building is going to be great for students.”

J. Paul Leonard Library
Third floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library on August 12. Baron Gee, project manager, said 99 percent of this level has been completed. Photo by: Godofredo Vasquez.

For now, doors are starting to be installed on the new building and the construction can be seen and heard as new windows appear. The current estimation is that SF State’s library facelift should be complete by spring 2012. Prior to start of construction, it was estimated that the library would be completed by this semester.

According to project manager Baron Gee, the completion date for the building was postponed because the budget did not pass in time.

Still, the new structure seems to be coming together.

“I think students can see it’s shaping up pretty well,” said Darlene Tong, head of information, research and instructional services. “Once we are back in the building it will be much more convenient for students.”

The new, six-floor building will feature three floors of public study areas, a cafe and a rare book collection. The Sutro Library will be located on the top two floors and will have rare books, manuscripts and genealogy collections. The Sutro Library is a separate entity from the J. Paul Leonard Library.

“I think students will love to have the study space,” Tong said. “It will address and provide for different learning styles.”

The space will be newly furnished with access to power, data and wireless Internet. The different floors will set environments for quiet and collaborative study.

J. Paul Leonard Library
The main entrance of the J. Paul Leonard Library on August 12. This six-floor structure is schedule to open spring 2012, as construction workers currently work on finishing plumbing and electrical wiring. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

The added space will be in part to a new Library Retrieval System, which will reduce the amount of space needed for open stacks. The LRS is a robotic storage system that uses a crane to retrieve books.

“It stores things in a compact way,” said Tong. “It is very efficient.”

Since the construction began, most library services have been moved to the Library Annex I, also known as “The Big Bubble.” Plans are still in the works for use of the Annex once it is vacated of library services.

For now, other services, such as part of the research collections and laptop rental have been moved to the HSS building, on the opposite side of campus from the Annex. In HSS, 127 students can checkout a laptop for four hours. This service will continue in the new structure, and will probably be utilized more with a central location.

The spread of services has caused a disconnect among students about the library.

“I went there (the Annex) when I was a freshman,” said biology major Halina Doan, now a senior. “It looked old. I never ventured over there again. I don’t even remember where it is.”

Sophomore psychology major Daisy Garcia thinks the Annex is still a good resource despite the location.

“For people who haven’t been there, it is hard to find,” Garcia said. “I think the library is very useful. There is a lot of space for people to use.”

J. Paul Leonard Library
Project Manager Baron Gee explains how the Library Retrieval System will find a requested book within 10 minutes. The LRS is capable of storing 1 million books in its three-story, 45-foot-high structure. Photo by Godofredo Vasquez.

But Garcia, along with many other students, is ready for the new and improved library to become a part of the campus again.

“I just want this one to be open already,” Garcia said as she motioned to the building under construction in the main quad of the SF State campus.

Mario Mejia, a senior design major, has used the Annex in his tenure at the University, but is disappointed he will not get to use the new facility.

“I’m excited to see it go up, but I probably won’t be here to see it, so that sucks,” Mejia said.