Photograph by Gordon Schmidt

Boatwright makeover

October 23, 2022


If it’s been a few years since you stepped inside Boatwright Memorial Library, you’ll be amazed at the changes to it today. Even current students might not have believed their eyes this semester.

The latest big transformation is to B1, the level below the main entrance on the ground floor. Where a maze of bookshelves once stood, there is now a wide-open study space. B1 is also a new home for the book arts, archives, and rare books department.

On a summer preview tour, Lynda Kachurek, the department’s head, didn’t disguise her enthusiasm. When she arrived at UR a decade ago, collections were stored in scattered corners of the library, including the tower room, which required trips in two separate elevators when materials needed to be carted between storage and the Galvin Rare Books Room.

Kachurek saved the showstopper for last on her tour.

Now the entire collections are nearby in purpose-built storage areas, where they are easily accessible for staff to pull for researchers. There’s also an accession room with plenty of space for student workers to help process new collections and a glass-enclosed reading room where researchers and students can study materials.

Kachurek saved the showstopper for last on her tour: a new 2,000-square-foot book arts studio, where students can lay out their own books with the latest technology and then manually produce them using 20th-century presses and binders. The process is part science, part art — a combination Richmond excels at and a welcome creative outlet for students.