The new library facility will meet the needs of today’s students at the Commonwealth’s largest urban research university.
Eighty six percent of VCU’s students are native to Virginia. This project invests directly in their intellectual capability, their future contribution to an educated workforce and their future employability within the Commonwealth. The work spaces and study spaces within the new building reflect the most successful design principles for modern academic libraries. The project will effectively complete the transition of Cabell Library from its original design as primarily a book-storage facility to a contemporary student-centric facility that is increasingly the preferred service model for libraries in the 21st century.
The new building combines spaces for small group studies, reconfigurable computer labs and student work environments, instruction spaces, individual quiet study space, a student digital media studio and library resources. This state-of-the-art facility at the heart of the VCU campus will support and encourage student academic work and intellectual pursuit 24 hours a day. (See At-a-Glance" at right.)
Beyond meeting the immediate academic needs of students and faculty, the new library sserves other University aspirations to
Support student success and research in pursuit of academic degrees. These are core elements of the University’s strategic plan.
Enhance academic success and improve graduation rates. This facility will be designed specifically to support and encourage student academic work and intellectual pursuit 24 hours a day, essential elements for academic success and graduation.
Strengthen support for online instruction: VCU Libraries anticipates a future that requires much stronger support for an expanded catalog of online courses and degree programs. Group study and flexible computer labs will provide academic work spaces for students enrolled in online courses, as well as support instruction and learning provided in traditional classroom spaces. Students in online courses use library computers and study spaces to physically meet and to engage in group projects as well as to work on individual course-related assignments. They’ll have ready access to print-on-demand materials stored in the library as well as online research materials. By combining technology-infused spaces, a safe and secure 24-hour student-centric environment, experienced assistance and library materials, VCU will create top-tier support for an extensive community of online learners and degree seekers in a much more cost-effective way than is possible using traditional classroom spaces.
Invest resources wisely to meet higher education needs. This project delivers maximum value from its investment in technology-intensive study spaces. The facility will make technology and academic resources available around the clock in a secure, safe, and comfortable environment. The new facility will reduce barriers of access to such resources by concentrating them in a single, central, secure facility that students can easily reach day or night, weekdays and weekends, to support their academic work.
In the News
- Have your voices heard at Cabell Life Forum April 3
- UPDATE: Building the new library for VCU's future--Preliminary designs in the works focus on student spaces
- Board of Visitors OKs $3.2 million for design of new Monroe Park library
At a Glance
- 484 seats in 90 group studies spaces
- Advanced computers, large monitors and technology to provide work spaces for study groups, small classes and project collaborations.
- 2,210 seats in collaboration, computer lab and quiet study spaces.
- 145 seats for instruction and classroom presentations.
- 50-seat digital media studio staffed by experts.
- high-speed, wireless network access, power outlets, computer displays, whiteboards and other support.
- 162,000 square feet project
- 82,000 square feet of new construction
- 80,000 square feet of improvements to the existing building
- $47.5 million total project cost
Then and Now
1975--James Branch Cabell Library completed and designed to serve 17,000 students, seat 2,000 students and house 1 million volumes.
2012--James Branch Cabell Library serves 32,000 students, seats 1,250, and houses 2 million volumes.