Mind Space, Open Space Coexist in Darden's Newly Renovated Camp Library

February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012 — The transformed Camp Library at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business challenges the way visitors imagine the library experience.

Instead of perusing endless rows of shelves in search of books, library users may access materials electronically or have books delivered quickly. Meanwhile, those hatching ideas have the "mind space" to work quietly and the "open space" to collaborate when they are ready to share their ideas. Thanks to recent renovations, the space adapts to how students, faculty and staff conduct research and work in teams.

Meeting the needs for both quiet and noise is a challenge for libraries. Karen King, director of library services at Darden, believes that the Camp Library team has the formula right.

"The idea behind our new design is to be able to accommodate every step in the research process," she said. "Many libraries are adopting designs that allow for open talk and collaboration, but have challenges connecting those areas with convenient and effective quiet spaces. Accommodating both needs is integral to expanding Darden's research footprint and encouraging thought leadership."

To make more room, planners are downsizing some equipment and functions, and relocating two-thirds of the library's collections. According to King, printed materials are still important, but they do not have to take up space in the library.

"Print resources are retrieved from storage and brought by a courier service at the request of users within 48 hours," she said.

These collections are stored in U.Va.'s Ivy Stacks Facility, which manages more than a million items within its 10,000-plus square feet of space. Sophisticated technology allows for the easy retrieval of items located among the facility's high-rise stacks. The facility also houses materials from the University Library, the Law Library and the Health Sciences Library.

"Times have changed and we responded by tailoring our space for research and technology needs," King added.

The Sheppard Reading Room is the only space that will continue to hold books. New features include an open living space beautiful enough to hold small cocktail gatherings, yet peaceful enough to inspire intellectual discussions. Large windows, some Palladian, offer invigorating views of Darden's Grounds. New office suites accommodate more of Darden's research centers and a new conference room allows users to meet and conduct video- and teleconferencing.

Who are the lucky ones who get to work in this new area?

Longtime library residents include the Darden Center for Global Initiatives and the Tayloe Murphy Research Center. The new kids on the block include the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Spaces for students have always included the Stettinius Reading Room (for Ph.D. candidates) and the capital markets room, where students debate and make investment portfolio decisions. The main floor holds space for various student activities. The second floor accommodates research activities.

"We really aimed to make this the place where students and faculty can explore, discover and create," King said. "U.Va. libraries are innovative, and we are proud to be a part of such a system."

King also has a vision for future improvements to the Camp Library, which includes expanding users' virtual experience and offering a workspace for leaders visiting Darden.

The Camp Library offers access to a wide range of resources, including electronic catalogs, databases, reference materials and Internet resources. Business collections include more than 100,000 volumes, 1,100 periodicals and 120 online databases. Members of the Darden community also have access to book, periodical and online resources in the University of Virginia library system.

The Office of the Architect, which handles all planning and renovations for U.Va., coordinated the Camp Library's renovation projects. The library is named for the Camp Family of Franklin County.

Media Contact

Beth Schmid

Senior Writer McIntire School of Commerce