Have you heard? Falvey Memorial Library’s Reading Room is currently undergoing a significant renovation! The donor funded project, which began in June, is expected to be completed in early September, in time for fall semester studies. The Reading Room will remain closed during this construction.
University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library Millicent Gaskell said the goal of the project “is to provide an inspiring space for quiet study and contemplation that better meets the current needs of Villanova’s diverse student body.” The renovation will greatly increase power outlets and provide a greater variety of seating.
An exciting addition will be the creation of a connection from the Reading Room in Old Falvey to the Learning Commons in Main Falvey. The new entrance on the Main Falvey side of the Reading Room will have a ramp to provide ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility.
The large windows will be replaced to improve environmental conditions and provide ultraviolet filtering to protect the restored painting, “Triumph of David” by Pietro da Cortona, from future deterioration. In addition, the space will be refreshed by replacing the ceiling, flooring and lighting. “We hope the Reading Room will be a signature space for the campus,” Gaskell says.
The Reading Room plans were developed by BLT Architects (BLTa) located in Philadelphia. BLTa also designed the Learning Commons (dedicated Feb. 17, 2012) on Falvey’s second floor.
“We have wanted to renovate the Reading room for some time and are very fortunate that all the pieces came together,” Gaskell said. The University’s project to restore the “Triumph of David” was completed in the fall of 2015. Gaskell says, “I don’t think anyone wanted us to rehang that magnificent painting in the tired-looking Reading Room. There was tremendous support for the project from the Provost’s Office, Advancement, and Facilities, but the project would not have happened this summer if not for the generous funding from donors.”
Image of renovated Reading Room courtesy of BLTa, the architects responsible for the design of this and of the second floor Learning Commons. Furniture arrangement indicated in rendering may change.