Columbia Library columns (v.45(1996))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.45,no.2(1996:Autumn): Page 23  



The Renovation of Butler

Ai.ixE Locascio


utler Library, Columbia's flagship
^library and the largest building on
'the Morningside Heights campus,
figures prominently in the experience and memories of countless
Columbians who have passed through its doors. Whether relaxing in the
Browsing Room or cramming for exams in the College Library, Butler has
long been central to life at Columbia. But it is time for Butler, considered
innovative and modern in its time, to reflect six decades of significant
change in library service and building construction. While the building
retains the solidity and elegance of the original 1934 James Gamble Rogers
design, the infrastructure cannot meet the challenges of an up-to-date,
modern facility. Mechanical, electrical, and communications systems from
the 1930s no longer provide optimal conditions for collections or library users.
The twenty-first-century library requires an infrastructure that can
stipport research and instruction in an electronic age side by side with the
more tiaditional hard copy resources. Printed indexes and card catalogs
coexist with CD-ROM databases and CLIO, Columbia's online library
catalog. Image databases bring fragile and valuable resources to every
library user. Electronic text analysis expands capabilities beyond the concor¬
dance. Students and faculty pursue collaborative projects using computers
in addition to paper and pen. Communication via email and voice mail has
outpaced the capability of the pneumatic tube system that was considered
so efficient in its day. The world inside the library now interacts dynamically
with the world outside through the World Wide Web. Instructional needs in
this electronic information age have also expanded to include electronic
classrooms in various configurations. All of these changes in information
  v.45,no.2(1996:Autumn): Page 23