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Big Doings at Widener Library
Widener, center of the University Library universe, opened in glory in 1915 and has been deteriorating physically ever since. Now, a $54-million renewal project will modernize systems, add space, and--most critically--help to protect and preserve the collection (see "Cooked Books: Costly Rx for Libraries," May-June 1998, page 78). On June 14 workers were scheduled to begin excavations at the rear of the building and pour a 30-by-30-foot, 4-foot-thick concrete pad to support a crane whose operator, sitting 150 feet above ground, will guide a 220-foot boom to lower a backhoe and construction materials into the light court at the center of the building. In the following year, the court will fill--up to the level of the floor of the Widener Memorial Room and the central rotunda: first with rooms two levels high to house mechanical systems; then with rooms one level high for staff use. Atop these will go two new reading rooms with arched glass roofs. The firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott is the architect for the project, which will take perhaps three years to complete.
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