Cabell Library plans renovations projects for summertime 

April 10, 2023

This summer, VCU Libraries will have several facilities projects underway that will create noise and dust and may affect the quiet researchers expect in James Branch Cabell Library spaces. Between mid-May when exams end and early August, there will be three notable facilities projects in progress. Depending upon workers’ progress and supply chain issues, work should be completed for the fall semester. 

  • Construction of the new Reflection Room on Cabell's second floor. This will probably be the noisiest of the three projects. During construction, users may want to work away from construction on the third and fourth floors. More about the new room
  • Installation of improved ventilation in The Workshop on the lower level. This work will be confined to the makerspace area of The Workshop and other immediately adjacent spaces in Cabell’s lower level. The Workshop’s makerspace will be closed for some portion of the summer while work is underway.  The exact timing is still being determined. Otherise, impact on users should be minimal, limited to noise.  
  • Refreshing furnishings on Cabell's first floor. The large open space on the west side of Starbucks and near the double elevators is due for a furnishings and decor update.  This space was mostly untouched during the 2016 renovation and expansion that added thousands of square footage to the 50-year-old original Cabell Library. Now, old desks and chairs, dating from the 80s and 90s, will be removed and replaced with furniture more similar to what’s used in the newer sections of Cabell. The refreshed space will include a combination of desktop computers, but also additional spaces for students to use laptops and collaborate with one another. New furniture includes larger tables with outlets built in, booths and some desks for individual study. Due to the extent of renovations, this first-floor area will be in transition and unavailable to users for much of the summer. During the refurbishment, patrons may find open desks and computers on the second, third or fourth floors. 

“We’re excited to continue to evolve spaces in Cabell Library to best serve our users’ needs,” said Associate Dean of Research and Learning Laura W. Gariepy, Ph.D. “Over the past couple of years, we sought feedback from student groups on different aspects of these projects. We’re especially grateful for students’ feedback on what they are looking for in the Reflection Room, and what type of seating and chairs best support their work. We’ve also taken care to observe how students use different furnishings in the building, and hope that these changes will be a welcome change for students returning in the fall.”

Summer is the best time to take on these projects since there are fewer library users in the building. Look for signs in the building and posts on the libraries’ social media networks and alerts on the home page for updates about noise and construction. VCU Libraries regrets any inconvenience this work causes users. 

If you have questions or concerns about any disruption in services related to construction, please contact Gariepy at

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Donors: Please make a gift to the Building Transformational Spaces Fund, which supports improvements to library buildings on both campuses.

Gifts may be made online or by contacting the development office.  All checks should be made payable to "VCU Foundation" with the particular fund written on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to:

VCU Libraries c/o VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Box 843042
Richmond, VA 23284-3042



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