Progress Report: Binding the Old and the New in the Library

April 18, 2022 By Anne E. Bromley, Anne E. Bromley,

As the University of Virginia’s main library for nearly 100 years, Alderman Library, undergoes a major renovation and addition, UVA photographer Sanjay Suchak captured some glimpses of the range of work happening outside and in.

This summer, the concrete exterior of the addition will gain a brick façade, just like its older counterpart, and a new connection to Clemons Library next door will be built. The work on Alderman is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2023, according to Senior Project Manager Kit Meyer.

At the ground level in the photo above, the light wells and the bridge will be filled in to create offices for library staff. The roof over them will be the floor of the new study courts, which will be entered on the second floor, and will be covered with skylights.

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Alderman under construction - a crane and braces.
Looking northwest, these braces held up the old walls around what will be study courts with skylights to be installed by fall below the four windows. Now that the new building has been added, the braces will soon come down.
Alderman under construction - inside the entryway.
Memorial Hall, the original entryway to Alderman Library, is being refurbished. As part of the process, workers are installing new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and life safety systems (such as sprinklers), plus bathrooms and elevators.
Alderman under construction - an empolyee working on the HVAC system.
Above Memorial Hall, an employee works on the HVAC system in the attic.
Alderman under construction - inside the future graduate student lounge.
This was previously the journals room. With some older features retained and restored, it will become a dedicated graduate student lounge, outfitted with a kitchenette.
Alderman under construction - inside the McGregor Room.
At the moment, it’s hard to recognize the McGregor Room, which students have dubbed the “Harry Potter Room” since the book series gained popularity after 1998. With protective covering on the walls and built-in bookshelves, this room will be restored to its original charm.
Alderman under construction - inside the Garnett Room.
The Garnett Room, only 500 square feet, is being restored to serve as a special office as needed, such as for a visiting scholar.
Alderman under construction - inside the first floor.
The long metal rails on the first floor show where moveable compact shelving will be installed.
Alderman under construction - inside the East Asian studies room.
Here in the old East Asian studies room, the original shelves are being refinished and reinstalled, and the room will be restored to its clean, 1950s vibe, according to Meyer. Shelves that previously were added in front of the windows will no longer block the light coming in. Meyer said a table that was in an old photograph of the East Asian studies room was found elsewhere, and after being refinished, will be returned to this room, now the Stanley and Lucie Weinstein Buddhist and Asian Studies Library.
Alderman under construction - employees working outside on what will be the fifth floor.
Illustration of what the fifth floor will look like when complete.
The photo shows employees working on what will be the fifth floor of the addition, with the space in between showing the cut-out to the fourth floor. A clerestory (high section of wall containing windows) above will fill this area with indirect natural light. The rendering from creative agency Neoscape depicts what it will look like when finished.
Alderman under construction - outside view of the new fifth floor windows.
In the new addition facing University Avenue, arched windows are being built at what will be a new reading room, two stories high, spanning the fourth and fifth floors.
Alderman under construction - outside view of Alderman from University Avenue.
The new addition has two entrances facing University Avenue, with a study lounge in between. A café is planned for the left side.

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications