The U-M Board of Regents approved the schematic design for the renovation of the Taubman Health Sciences Library building at their March 21 meeting. Their approval moves the renovation project a step closer to completion. Within months, work will begin on a $55 million project to transform the Taubman Health Sciences Library building into a natural light-filled health sciences education hub, one that supports in-person, collaborative, active learning. Construction of designs by TMP Architecture and Ballinger will create an estimated 72 construction jobs.
While much of the collection will be moved to a different location, library items will be available on request or online, and recent or frequently requested volumes will still have a place in the renovated building. A rare medical books collection, with historical works dating as far back as the 15th century, has already joined the Special Collections Library in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library.
In place of bookshelves, U-M will create a multi-level health sciences education space in 137,000 square feet across four floors, and add a glass “skin” to the building, originally built in 1980. In addition to the library, students will have access to modern classrooms, collaboration spaces, and small group learning and team breakout rooms. The project will increase the number of fully equipped medical and procedure rooms where students can develop their physical examination and clinical interaction skills with standardized and real patients. Both U-M medical and other health professions students, such as those from the College of Pharmacy, will take part in learning there, as part of multi-disciplinary training. A large commons area, space for exhibits, interprofessional leadership training spaces, and wide new staircases and halls will foster interaction.
The project will also make the building more energy efficient, in keeping with U-M’s environmental sustainability commitment. Upon completion, it will qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver status.
A new approach to health sciences library services
The conversion of library space reflects the changing reality of medicine and other health professions and the dramatic rise in the availability of online resources such as electronic journals and databases which physicians, researchers and students can access from anywhere, at any time.
U-M’s health sciences librarians offer an incredible range of services, and continue to share their expertise in finding, accessing, managing, and using information with students, faculty and staff in all of U-M’s health-related schools. But more and more, the emphasis is on collaboration with librarians joining faculty in teaching and conducting research. The Taubman health sciences librarians are experts in information who can work with clinicians and researchers via online interactions, or by coming to their classes, labs, clinics and even hospital grand rounds.
Jane Blumenthal, MLIS, AHIP, director of Taubman Health Sciences Library and associate university librarian, notes that the project is in line with the library’s emphasis on immersion in the environments where health professionals train and practice, rather than waiting for them to come to the library building.
“The new building design reflects the way the library functions now. Librarians are an integral part of the work of the health sciences schools, and like our 21st century collections our 21st century librarians are available in the places where that work is being done. From the beginning of the project we approached the design from the perspective of integration rather than the idea of a stand-alone library,” she said.
“This project will uphold our commitment to preparing students to be the health care leaders of the 21st Century, and continue a historical tradition that now spans three centuries,” says Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical student education. “Our partners in the health sciences library community and our other health professional schools have embraced this change, which will create a truly modern learning environment.”
The renovation project has been planned through cooperation among the Medical School, the Taubman Health Sciences Library, the Provost’s Office, the University Architect’s office and U-M health sciences schools that train health professionals and also use the Taubman library. The opinions, ideas and insights of students, faculty and staff all contributed to this process.
For updates on the Taubman Health Sciences library renovation as it progresses, visit http://www.lib.umich.edu/thl-renovation