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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

50 And Forward

Display+of+artifacts+at+the+library
Display of artifacts at the library

The library honors its history by dedicating space to preserve it 

Power tools echoed from the third floor as Missy Clapp, Director of Library Research, Education, and Outreach Services in the Sandor Teszler Library, remarked, “Every inch of the building will be touched. The coffee shop is probably the most exciting addition. The other important addition is the improved space for Archives and Special Collections and the focus on building an academic commons with spaces for campus partners.” 

Since 1969, The Sandor Teszler Library has served the students of Wofford College. Today, as the majority of a major renovation is nearing its close, the interior of the building has undergone extensive change. The carpets, light fixtures and other furnishings throughout the building were original to the 1960s, and so a goal was set to update the spaces to suit the Wofford community of today. 

Over the course of the 2017-18 school year, librarians, architects and students started voicing improvements and planning renovations which were made into a three-phase plan. The plan includes installing compact shelving, moving Wofford’s book collection to the basement and opening up space on the third floor for a new central location for the Archives and Special Collections. When renovations are complete, these library services will be brought from each wing of the building to the middle to increase access and further professionalize the collections in the college’s possession. Clapp said, “the unique collections need to be cared for for eternity and the new space will give them a proper home that is climate controlled, particularly as the permanent records of the college live there.”  

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Once finished, the Archives and Special Collections will operate by official standards to administer the collections to the public. The space will feature climate controlled storage, processing areas for the archivists and student workers, photography space to aid in digitizing the collections and a reading room for the public to view and interact with the distinctive archival materials specific to Wofford College.  

Special Collections and Research Librarian Luke Meagher, said, “The more efficient the management of our materials, the more accessible they become, enhancing the student experience of those interested in working with primary source materials.”  

Consequently, when the current space dedicated to Archives and Special Collections is vacated, it will become an updated flexible learning classroom, equipped with modern technology and movable furniture to accommodate the Center for Innovation and Learning.  

A goal of the renovations is to transform the library to represent the entire college. To meet this goal, an Academic Commons has been put into place. Clapp says, “The concept of the Academic Commons is to create a place where people can come for multiple services that they need and use everyday. It is a great way to provide service — nobody has to tell a student to go to five different places for five different services; you can come to one place.”  

Continuing with the theme of offering accessibility to all of its patrons, the library has also been opened up by physically removing the security system that once blocked a large amount of space by the front door. The addition of a bathroom on the main floor provides facilities to people of all genders and capabilities. By moving key librarian’s offices to the border of the main floor, “we are much more easily accessible,” Clapp said. “We get a lot more walkup traffic with this open plan and the glass walls.” 

Research Librarian Emily Witsell has been able to utilize the library’s renovations as she aids students in finding sources and teaches them research skills. She finds value in “having more spaces to accommodate more classes because [library staff] keep[s] teaching more and more classes each year.” She is particularly excited about the improvements being implemented in Archives and Special Collections: “I’m excited to be able to bring students to see the items. In the past [to view archival materials], we have had to crowd students into a space or move them to a room that isn’t always best for fragile items.” 

The renovations in the Sandor Teszler Library that attempt to improve access and add resources to enhance the student experience at Wofford are projected to be completed in Fall 2020. Witsell said, “I think that the space looks much more modern and inviting than it used to and represents what a library should be in the 21 century, a place to learn, to work, to research.” 

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