Brutalist Libraries – You Gotta Love Em

According to Yahoo! News this morning, the website has come up with a list of the World’s Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments. Reuters did not endorse this list.” [Disclaimer – I went to and couldn’t find this list myself.] Here’s the Yahoo! story:  Travel Picks: 10 top ugly buildings and monuments – Yahoo News

What caught my attention is that one unfortunate library, Birmingham Central Library in Birmingham, England, made the list. Naturally, I felt bad for them! However, after visiting its website,  I want to send to Birmingham Central Library a message of solidarity. The reason stated for placing this monumental library building at number nine on the ugliest buildings list is its “Brutalist” style of architecture. Here’s a photo from the library’s website:

Brutalist Style Library

Brutalist Style Library

We too have a Brutalist style library.

CSU-Pueblo's Brutalist Style Library

As we’ve been planning for a major remodel and expansion of our library over the past two years, I’ve actually come to develop an appreciation for this style. In essence our entire campus is built in this style, and, while some joke that it was done so that the buildings could be used as a prison if the University should fail, I think there is a certain appropriateness to both the aesthetics and scale of our buildings. We are perched on a hilltop out in the prairie with awesome views of the mountains to the West and the plains to the East. Our library is definitely a strong landmark! And, I argue, its stark style and vintage 1960s look is almost “cool” again. We definitely plan to enhance but not try to disguise the original style of the building.

However, I am looking forward to better lighting and less “vintage” furnishings!

Brutalist Libraries of the world unite!!


Office Hours

As we contemplate our upcoming relocation and remodel, we are attempting to find spaces around campus for our faculty and staff. One obvious solution has been that the subject liaisons could have offices in the building where their faculty and student constituents are located. I was interested to read this post on the ACRLog about an experience with this. It seems there could be some benefit to this arrangement.

Hoping we can avoid janitor’s closets –


Library Remodel – Latest

Hi Everyone,

We are making some progress in planning our remodel. As we move through the process, we will be sharing all the information we have with you via our website:

Incidentally, our website itself will be changing in early July. You can check out the beta site at Look in the top right hand corner for the latest information about the remodel!

For now, I can tell you that:

1. We are close to hiring the Project Manager who will then help with all the rest of the planning. (Thank goodness)

2. We are planning to vacate the building by December if all goes well.

3. We will likely have to store the print collection off-site and will be looking for your input about how best to minimize the inconvenience this may cause.

4. We should move back into the new space in spring 2011!

Here we go!


We’re Renovating

Believe it or not, it’s a reality. Over a year of hard work and campaigning has paid off. The Governor has authorized our request of approximately $22,000,000 to renovate and expand our library! To see the concept drawings and read the program plan, check our website:

As we go through the process, i will let you know how it’s going and post photos, etc. on this blog.

Here we go!!

Commons 2.0 – Where’s the Writing Room?

The latest edition of EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY (Number 4, 2007) includes an article called Commons 2.0: Library Spaces Designed for Collaborative Learning. The article is valuable because it reinforces for the higher ed community what librarians have been saying for a decade now about space planning for the library.  It talks about human-centered design and the shift towards problem-based learning. The article does a good job of defining the Information Commons of the future, outlining five guiding principles: open, free, comfortable, inspiring, and practical.

What I missed seeing here was the expansion of this concept to include the addition of learning support services such as tutoring that would have transformed the envisioned space into a true Learning Commons as defined in previous posts. Canadian libraries are at the forefront of this trend, which I find very promising. For an example of a Learning Commons 2.0, take a look at this one at McMaster University.

Library Information Commons is Up and Running

Happy Labor Day Weekend. Here is a picture of the almost finished product. We are still going to order signs and are still waiting on new desk chairs, but you get the picture. So far, the LIC has been met with positive response!

In addition to the physical changes, we are working to make administrative changes as well. Together with staff from Information Technology Services and First-Year Programs, we have formed the Library Information Commons Steering Committee. This group is working on issues regarding cross-training of staff, communication amongst units, and setting learning objectives for interactions with students. Two of our faculty members will be presenting on this last initiative at the CAL Conference in November.

LIC North

LIC South and FY Advisors

Come up and see us!


Picture of Study Carrel

For everyone who expressed interest in seeing pictures of the tables and study carrels, here is a photo of the study carrel. Unfortunately, the 3 x 5 tables are already gone to someone on our campus. I’m sorry, I know those were really in demand!

The carrels are single sided with an upright back that can be placed flush against a wall. Each carrel is 24” deep by approximately 40” wide. They do not have sides. As you can see, the chairs have black plastic molded backs and metal legs with upholstered seats in a variety of colors. They are in fairly good shape and are actually quite comfortable to sit in.

Please respond by email to if you are interested in carrels or chairs that you can come and pick up.

Library Carrell