- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - A renovation project has begun to update the University of Notre Dame’s 52-year-old main library by adding new technology to support digital research.

The $10 million initial phase of the $40 million project also will add a north entrance to the 14-story Hesburgh Library and increase natural light, The South Bend Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/14rx3mE ).

“I suspect this north entrance will be the main entrance for much of the campus,” University Librarian Diane Walker said.

The first phase also will include renovation of the 10th floor. The entire renovation project is expected to take five to 10 years. It will proceed floor by floor as funds are raised, Walker said.

The work will include moving book stacks and faculty offices away from windows, allowing more natural light in. Hundreds of narrow wooden study carrels that have served a half-century of students gradually will be removed and be replaced with open study tables with electrical outlets to power laptops and other devices.

The library will remain open and in use throughout the project.

When the library opened in 1963 as the largest college library in the world, it was designed to hold 2 million volumes. It now has close to 3.5 million volumes, Walker said.

The renovation will include removing many academic journals that are now available in electronic form, as well as some books published before 2000 that are rarely checked out, Walker said. About 1 million volumes will be moved out of the library to an off-campus storage facility.

The project won’t alter the building’s iconic mosaic officially the “Word of Life Mural” but widely known as “Touchdown Jesus.”

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com

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