Bouwhuis main floor opens to mixed reviews

By Felicity Werner
Griffin Reporter

The new circulation desk at the Andrew L. Bouwhuis library.

The new circulation desk at the Andrew L. Bouwhuis library.

Starting last spring, the renovations happening in Canisius’ Bouwhuis Library have resulted in many new and exciting changes meant to modernize its appearance and aid students in their collaborative and individual learning efforts. These changes include a new group lounge, referred to as the Philip C. ’48 & Josephine Lombardo Collaborative Learning Center, which features booths, group study tables, and even media-scape units which allow groups of students to each contribute using state-of-the-art collaborative technology to make multi-media class presentations. Updated technology is also present in each of the library’s new group study and instruction classrooms which are climate controlled as well as (relatively) soundproof.

Included in the new furniture and layout of the library are six tables for the desktop computers, each of which feature a handicap accessible, American Disability Association compliant, end which is able to raise and lower with the push of a button. Other changes include improved sight lines throughout, less cluttered furniture layout, a layer of fresh paint over existing photo murals, and updated lighting fixtures, carpeting and ceiling. In addition to the new look of the service desk, there is now also a special service room where a student can be taken for one-on-one help with software or other questions where computer demonstrations would be needed. Areas other than the main floor of the library have also seen changes, such as the new carpeting in the stairwell and about 15 tables worth of study space added to the quiet floor.

All of the renovations are donor driven, thanks to about four million dollars in gifts and pledges so far, including the one million from the estate of the late Philip C. Lombardo ’48 and Josephine Lombardo (for the Learning center). In addition to all the renovations so far students can still expect even more to come in the near future. Anticipated changes include the updating of two of the group study rooms on the main floor, an addition bookshelf in the Collaborative Learning Center, updated bathrooms on all three floors, and the expansion of Tim Hortons. Students can also look forward to the appearance of what Matt Kochan, Public Service Supervisor of the library refers to as “cabanas.” These will appear among the tables of desktop computers and will include an interesting sort of half-open study area with seating and tables.

The new layout of the library is much more open than it was prior to the renovation.

The new layout of the library is much more open than it was prior to the renovation.

Student opinions on the changes are varied, but those who have voiced disapproval have mentioned a lot of the same things. Many feel that the color scheme is unsightly, or the layout is too sterile and formal. Students often comment that it appears as if there are fewer computers present, although this is just an illusion since the same amount of desktops are now just more spaced out. The new arrangement of the desktops puts off some students who claim that this results in a loss of privacy, and creates an appearance of underutilized space. One student commented, “There seems to be a loss of the library’s character and casual atmosphere; everything is so academic now. This used to be a cool hang-out space but now it feels like groups are restricted only to the study rooms.” The library has also received a large amount of complaints involving the unreliable wireless internet (slow speed and random connection loss), but it promises to have this problem resolved as soon as possible.

The new library renovations are a sign of things to come and things that have been left behind. Sophomore Claire Hart explained that the library “really speaks to the modern times because it’s full of things instead of books.” She went on, saying, “It makes me sad that libraries aren’t for books anymore they are for tables and laptops.” Student’s appeal to tradition and legacy is not uncommon on the grounds of Canisius College. Despite discrete reservations, the community as a whole is overjoyed by the generous donation of alumni and administrational focus on the importance of infrastructure.

A panorama of the entrance of the newly renovated Andrew L. Bouwhuis library.

A panorama of the entrance of the newly renovated Andrew L. Bouwhuis library.



  1. beercoffeesports says:

    no pictures for us to decide for ourselves?

    • Hi beercoffeesports, thanks for the constructive suggestion! We’ve updated the post accordingly and now it features three photos of the library (one more than in our print edition) and we hope you can now accurately assess the renovations of the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library!

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