Grambling State University unveils new digital library design

Grambling State University revealed designs in January for a new digital library that will add more than 50,000 square feet of learning space to the University, City of Grambling, and North Louisiana community.

“We see this new facility as an information beacon on a hill,” said President Rick Gallot of Grambling State. “We are grateful to the students, University of Louisiana System, the Board of Regents, our Governor and the legislators who are collaborating to make this vision a reality for our campus.”

Designed by Architects Beazley Moliere and Mathes Brierre Architects, the new facility will serve the University’s growing student body, which recently reached a five-year enrollment high of 5,205 students.

The building’s space plan includes:

  • More than 500 student computer stations.
  • More than 17,000 square feet of dedicated study space.
  • Room for more than 200,000 physical resources (e.g. books, video, microfilm).
  • Approximately 5,000 square feet of multi-purpose space to support student programming and community events.

The University will pursue a designation of the first digital library housed at a Historically Black College and University in the United States.

“We are honored to help Grambling State lead new innovation for its students, HBCUs and the Louisiana community,” said Denelle Wrightson, a library and design consultant who has helped lead site planning and design since the idea was born in 2017.

Grambling State Library receives statewide support

“Grambling State has a long history of producing business and industry leaders who have shaped Louisiana and the nation,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, University of Louisiana System president. “It’s important, and an honor, to be a part of developing this University’s next generation of leaders and supporting necessary improvements including the new digital library.”

The fast-moving digital library project began in 2017, when President Gallot petitioned for the closure and support to replace the University’s existing facility, the A.C. Lewis Memorial Library, which was constructed in 1962. President Gallot, alumni, faculty, and ULS leadership partnered with students quickly to garner both funding and commitments to make a new facility a reality.

“The commitment of our state legislature is demonstrated by the swift and prompt action on this critical capital outlay need,” said President Gallot. “We are fortunate to have a System and community who truly support us and help us ensure our students remain and know they are our top priority.”

Timeline summary

In under 20 months, the University’s proposal has moved from initial research to funding and design approval. The State of Louisiana’s Capital outlay plan projects the $16.6 million project to complete in the Winter of 2020.

  • March 2017, Consultant begins research on Grambling State student and campus library needs
  • April 2017, President Gallot proposes A.C. Lewis Memorial Library closure and new capital outlay project to ULS leadership
  • July 2017, New library funding approved by the State Bond Commission
  • September 2017, Library resource relocation completes
  • March 2018, Architectural team of Architects Beazley Moliere and Mathes Brierre Architects selected to lead library design
  • December 2018, Final designs submitted to Grambling State University leadership

New library leadership at Grambling State

In January 2019, Grambling State University brought on its first Dean of the Digital Library and Learning Commons, Adrienne C. Webber. Webber brings to the University 29 years of professional experience with more than 21 years of expertise managing library and information innovation.

Most recently, Dean of Library Services at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Webber has served at schools including South Carolina State University, Xavier University, Alabama A&M University and Texas College face the challenges of innovating as the information space changes. She has also served as an archivist for Atlanta Olympic Broadcasting (AOB) and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

“Our team will work to ensure this new facility will provide limitless access to the information and education that prepares students to thrive in the growing information economy,” said Dean Webber. “It’s an honor to work with President Gallot and this University’s rich history as Grambling State steps the nation forward once again.”

More construction at Grambling State

The Digital Library is one of a number of construction projects underway at the University. Other campus improvement efforts include:

  • Flood restoration projects which are slated to bring Woodson Hall, Adams Hall, and the Favrot Student Union bowling alley fully online in 2019.
  • Nursing building upgrades that will create a Smart Auditorium in 2020.
  • Intramural center expansion project with new swimming facilities on the location of the former C.D. Henry Natatorium.
  • Recent technology improvements that range from new video conferencing labs and server room upgrades to safety improvements.
Subscribe