Biggest difference for new UB library? No books

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — One of the biggest things UB’s newly renovated Silverman Library lacks is also what makes it a 21st Century space.

Only one stack — in the traditional sense — exists where most of the $7.2-million-dollar project was completed, and it’s filled with DVDs.

For the past two years, crews have transformed more than 45,000 square feet of space into a library that better accommodates the needs of students.

The old library was traditional: full of book stacks, limited seating for students, very little light and drab green carpet.

There’s now an incredible amount of natural light, upgraded group study rooms with a major emphasis on collaborative space.

And, what better for all-nighters than a coffee shop right in the center of it all.

But the lack of books — and, thus, bookshelves — is striking.

“We really have asked students what kind of information they want and how they want to learn,” said Austin Booth, UB’s vice provost for university libraries. “And they want to learn online. They go online and find digitized primary sources they could have never gotten before, digitized secondary sources, and more information, and it’s all right there at their fingertips.

“The students are really excited about it,” she added. “The library will remain what they always were: a place to create knowledge, a place to exchange ideas, the democratic process, and that’s what we are.”

The library is open 24 hours to cater to students’ study schedules. It’s also open to the public.

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