Described as “an intellectual student union,” a “creative cauldron” and the “library of the future,” the Alfred R. Goldstein Library at Ringling College of Art and Design is officially open for business.
The new library at the Sarasota school was christened during a swanky ribbon-cutting ceremony with roughly 500 supporters of the new structure applauding college president Larry R. Thompson and several scissor-wielding donors as they opened the new building.
Thompson spoke to the crowd assembled under a large tent outside the new building, and he highlighted several aspects of the modern building, noting that it may be different from many of the libraries the assembled donors may remember.
It’s not your grandfather’s library where you had to be hushed. Here, there’s allowed to be noise and there’s a lot of noises going on in it as students collaborate.
Ringling President Larry Thompson
“One of the things that makes it incredible is you can make noise inside. It’s not your grandfather’s library where you had to be hushed,” Thompson said. “Here, there’s allowed to be noise and there’s a lot of noises going on in it as students collaborate.”
The college broke ground on the $18 million project in April 2015. It is nearly four times larger than the previous library and holds 75,000 items, has 10 group study rooms, 24-7 access to a computer lab, a project workroom and a third-floor housing most of the library’s book collection.
Dean Eisner, the chairman of the board of trustees, described the new building as a “beacon” for the campus.
“It’s the central place on campus, it’s the center of thought, the center of innovation, of ideas, of learning,” Eisner said.
Students began having access to the library once they returned from winter break. The college celebrated the transition of books from the old building to the new with a ceremonial bucket brigade of books on Jan. 9.
The building features an airy open central foyer, large murals, glass walls, balconies and design flourishes throughout, indicative of the school’s status as a hub of creativity.
“It’s like it’s always been here. The students are using all the spaces, collaborating on projects, staying here all night on the computers,” said Kristina Keogh, director of library services. “There are students sketching all over the place.”