Pollak Library reopens at CSUF following extensive renovations

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A crowd looks on as President Virjee speaks at the grand reopening of Pollak Library at CSUF

The south side of the Pollak Library at CSUF has officially reopened four years after earthquake damage forced it to temporarily shut its doors.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony welcomed students, faculty and staff to the new library Wednesday. The ceremony included remarks on the steps of the library from Cal State Fullerton interim President Fram Virjee, Berenecea Johnson Eanes, vice president of student affairs, and Emily Bonney, Ph.D., interim dean of the Pollak Library.

The south side’s reopening marked the end of a reconstruction process that resulted from a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. It wasn’t the only new renovation to the library, as the north side also underwent major updates and design changes, Bonney said.

“The north side was open in 1998 and was in serious disrepair,” Bonney said. “So to make the place look better and freshen it up, a commitment was made to do the renovations.”

She credits Virjee’s prioritization of finishing the project as “what made all the difference” in getting the renovations completed.

The renovation designs and furniture programming were done by A.C. Martin, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm.

The floor space was expanded by 1800 square feet and 450 seats have been added to the library. More seats will be added before the end of fall semester, Bonney said. The changes on both sides were not unnoticed by students.

I think it’s really great. We have the 3D Printer over there which I think is pretty cool. There are more open study rooms and a few more relaxing spaces for people to do homework or just hang out with friends,” said Anthony Chavez, a recent CSUF graduate who is using the facility to complete a credential program.

The improvements to the library are not finished. Before the fourth and fifth floors of the south side can be reopened, more windows have to be added to satisfy the state fire marshal, Bonney said. The floors are expected to be open by June 2019.

Darlene Vasquez, a first-year public relations major, appreciates the opening of space that the renovations have accomplished.

“It seems like there’s more room to sit down, and use the tables whereas before it seemed like most of them were occupied by the writing center,” said Vasquez said.

Despite all the changes made to the library, computer capacity has remained the same, with open student workspaces being the priority. However, Bonney said the facility continues to utilize its laptop-lending program.

James Cotterman III, seventh year international business major, said it could be improved, and felt that the renovations took too long.

“What I usually do when I’m here to study is go to the third floor. If that’s full I go to the south side,” Cotterman said. “Most times when the third floor was packed and south side was closed I had to go home and study, which isn’t for me.”     

He recalls regularly going to the south side of the library for updates on when doors would reopen and not being given a definite answer.

Ultimately, creating more student space is a single step in the library’s long-term vision.

“If we had all the money in the world, the goal would be to make this a real 21st century library with even more student learning opportunities. So that’s what we will continue to work toward,” said Bonney, who encourages all students to take a tour and find the space in the newly renovated library that works for them.

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