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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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NU to renovate Deering Library, close it to public for next academic year

Daily file photo by Joss Broward
Renovations will focus on the Martin Reading Room, Room 208 and the third floor lobby.

Northwestern will close Deering Library for the first time in over a decade during the 2024-2025 school year to undergo renovations, the University announced Thursday. 

The renovation will focus on the Martin Reading Room, the third floor lobby and Room 208. It will feature restored woodwork, furnishings and flooring. They will also introduce an elevator to the space.  

Construction will begin after this year’s commencement and is expected to conclude in September 2025. According to the news release, funds for the renovation come from philanthropic gifts.

Construction will remove non-original shelving from the Martin Reading Room to create more seating opportunities. Deputy University Librarian D.J. Hoek said the plan is to restore the layout of the room to its original state.

Hoek added that maintaining Deering’s history is an integral part of the renovation. In Room 208, fluorescent lighting will be removed. Plans include bringing new technology into the room, offering it more flexibility as an event and gathering space.

“We really see 208 as a key part of the renovation, because in its renovated form we hope (it) really becomes a very active center of activity, not only for the library, but for the whole university,” Hoek said. 

Lastly, Hoek said, NU will add digital screens to the third floor lobby to provide context on current exhibits on display.

Plans for the renovation were approved in Spring 2022, according to Hoek. While Deering will be closed to the public, community members will be able to request content online from the Special Collections housed in the library. These books, mostly from the Art and Asian Languages collections, will be sent to Main Library. 

To compensate for the closure, the University also plans to add additional seating in designated study spaces in Main Library. 

“We don’t want this renovation to cause any disruption to the teaching and learning and research that happens on the campus,” Hoek said. “And so that’s something that we come back to again and again.”

Hoek said he hopes the closure will spotlight underutilized areas in Main Library as spaces like Periodicals experience added foot traffic. 

“In terms of the technology and the access to collections, we want to make sure that that is available in the most updated way, but at the same time, recognizing Deering is a really special space that’s really important to a lot of people and it’s like nothing else on campus,” Hoek said. 

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