Lauinger Library will undergo widespread renovations and modernization, beginning with a revitalization of the Pierce Reading Room in 2025, Dean Harriette Hemmasi announced Nov. 5.
The plans for the renovation are part of the Called to Be campaign, a $3 billion fundraising campaign launched in Spring 2023 to advance Georgetown University’s missions and impact. As of now, the university has raised $1.89 billion.
The campaign covers four areas: access and excellence (student financial support and scholarships), learning and discovery (teaching, research and learning), health and environment (health and security) and society and democracy (public service and civic engagement). One of the campaign’s major projects is renovating Lauinger Library.
Bart Moore (SFS ’87), vice president of the office of advancement, said refurbishing the library is a significant action to improve student quality of life.
“Lauinger is the largest academic building at Georgetown, and it is in use pretty much around the clock during the academic year,” Moore wrote to The Hoya. “The plan is not to replace the building outright but to dramatically improve it.”
Moore said the renovation will consist of four phases, with the first phase being a renovation of the Pierce Reading Room on the third floor. Moore said the renovations are anticipated to happen across the upcoming calendar year and the other phases will follow thereafter, with one phase expected each year until the project is finished.
“To keep the library and its resources available throughout the renovation, it will be undertaken in phases,” Moore wrote to The Hoya. “There will likely be four distinct phases to the project, beginning with Phase I, which encompasses the Pierce Reading Room and other parts of the circulation and administrative sections of the third floor.”
According to Moore, Phase I, a refurbishment of the Pierce Reading Room, will cost approximately $15 million and the university is close to meeting a fundraising goal to support half of the investment.
Plans to revitalize the Pierce Reading Room include the removal of the external concrete panels that block views on the south side of the building as well as the inclusion of a new Visualization and Learning Lab, which will enable students, faculty and staff to access and interact with different forms of scholarly and artistic content from print to digital texts, images, media and data. The space will feature a large wall of high-resolution displays along with several mobile touch-enabled monitors.
Harriette Hemmasi, dean of the library, said university staff are in the early stages of the plan.
“We are currently in the pre-design (information gathering) phase of planning for the overall Lau project and have had meetings with a number of students, faculty and staff to get their feedback on ideas for the future of Lau,” Hemmasi wrote to The Hoya. “We are hopeful that the plan for Phase I will be completed by early 2025.”
Abbey Murray (CAS ’27), a member of the Student Library Council who took part in the discussions on the design plans for Lauinger, said the staff has been reviewing multiple designs to determine the best solution for the library.
“In our last meeting, the Student Library Council and one of the architects spent time talking about our hopes for Lau and ideas for its improvement. We considered the designs of various university libraries and other study spaces around the country in order to determine what is both applicable to and feasible for Lau,” Murray wrote to The Hoya.
Murray says she looks forward to the development of the final designs.
“Being a freshman, I am so appreciative to have been given the opportunity to contribute to Lau’s transformation into a more productive and comfortable space for students,” Murray wrote. “I am hopeful that the renovations of Lau will ensure that every Georgetown student has their own go-to space on campus.”
Moore said the designs for Phase I are inspiring and reflect the ambition of improving and increasing spaces for study and collaborative work.
“We view Phase I as both a big project in itself and also a ‘demonstration project’ that will demonstrate to the community how much we can accomplish within the existing 50-year-old building to create a much better Lauinger for the future.”