BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College was recently awarded a Title III grant that was used in part to fund the renovation of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, which was built in 1951.
Brett Miller, Director of Library Services and Archivist, discussed the changes brought by the renovations. “One of the big things that people react to when they come in, is the open space in the middle because that used to be three stories worth of built-in shelving that isn’t there anymore,” Miller said. The old shelving was built into the floor and was load bearing, which didn’t leave many options for an open area. According to Miller, this was common for libraries around the time the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library was originally built.
Miller also talked about an addition to the library that the students are very enthusiastic about. “I think what will also be appreciated, and we’ve had a lot of students asking about, is the ability to have 24/7 access to the space,” Miller said. “Our library staff won’t be here 24/7, but with a campus ID card, you can swipe in and use the space at any time.”
Student’s had a large hand in the renovations to the library, especially the Student Senate. Lauren Hatcher, Student Senate President, spoke about how this process worked for them. “From the very beginning, we met with the architects and told them what we did and didn’t like,” Hatcher said. “From there, any time architects were on campus we got emails telling us to come meet with them. They would give us ideas and we would vote on which ones we liked better.” The students got to vote on everything, down to the paint color and fabric on the furniture.
Gavin Wilson, treasurer of the Student Senate, expressed the vision for this project. “One of the biggest things that the administration pushed for, and something that they got students on board with early, was that we needed it to be as versatile a space as possible. When you’re undertaking a project this large and expensive, it’s probably going to be the only one you get for the next 30 years or so,” Wilson said. “Nobody in this library right now knows what a library is going to function as in 25 years.”
On Thursday, September 12, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to recognize the official opening of the newly renovated library. People were encouraged to go inside and look at the library afterwards, and many expressed how amazing it looks.
Hopefully the renovations will accommodate students at Wesleyan for years to come.