SF State cuts ribbon on new library

SF State held a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 10 to celebrate the initial opening of the new J. Paul Leonard Library. The project to renovate and expand the University's library, started in 2008, has converted the building into a fully accessible, state-of-the art facility.

A photo of SF State Associated Students President Andrew Gutierrez; alumna Neda Nobari; President Robert A. Corrigan; David Leonard, son of former SF State President J. Paul Leonard; Brian Cahill, executive vice president of operations for Balfour Beatty Construction; and SF State Librarian Debbie Masters cutting the ribbon at the new J. Paul Leonard Library on April 10, 2012.

SF State Associated Students President Andrew Gutierrez, from left; alumna Neda Nobari; President Robert A. Corrigan; David Leonard, son of former SF State President J. Paul Leonard; Brian Cahill, executive vice president of operations for Balfour Beatty Construction; and SF State Librarian Debbie Masters cut the ribbon the new J. Paul Leonard Library on April 10, 2012.

The ground through fourth floors of the library opened to the public in late March. Part of the first floor opened in January.

SF State President Robert A. Corrigan, University Librarian Debbie Masters, Associated Students President Andrew Gutierrez and Friends of the Library President Bill Bonds were among those who spoke at the ceremony. Eleven family members of J. Paul Leonard, a former SF State president for whom the library is named, were also in attendance.

Gutierrez praised the library's technological and multimedia upgrades. "As a student who was here before this transformation, this is an amazing space for students," he said.

Among those present for the ribbon cutting was SF State alumna Neda Nobari, a generous supporter of the University, in whose honor the first floor of the library is named.

The new library features:

  • More than 3,000 seats for quiet and group study
  • More than 250 public computers
  • Six instructional spaces
  • Faculty and student digital media studios with twelve editing rooms
  • Extended-hours study areas with computers, quiet study rooms and 18 group study rooms

The expansion also included the installation of the Library Retrieval System (LRS), an automated storage and retrieval system that occupies three floors in the library's west addition. The system is made up of five double rows of bins reaching 36 feet high that house 10 times more books than open shelving could accommodate, making more of the library available for other uses. The LRS retrieves the bin in which a requested book is stored. Staff members pick out the requested book from the bin and deliver it to the library's Book Checkout and Pickup desk, where the person who requested the book will be able to pick it up within 15-20 minutes of making the request. Book requests can be made online from any computer 24/7.

"By having the on-site retrieval system, we could open up the whole old building and provide dramatically increased space for individual and collaborative work by students and faculty," Masters said.

The new library also serves as a testament to SF State's commitment to environmental sustainability, and environmental data collected from the library site will help in the University's efforts to demonstrate best practices in urban biodiversity. Inside, workers are refining the building's energy consumption and looking at ways to reduce paper towel waste. Outside, the landscaping will incorporate a number of innovative features and displays that will serve as a visible statement of the campus's sustainability efforts and raise awareness of global sustainability issues. These features will include showcases of native grass lawns, pollinator-friendly plants and bioswales to capture rainwater.

The ground through fourth floors of the library are currently open to the public. During the rest of the spring semester, services will be available for the following hours: 

  • The first-floor Research Commons and lobby area is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The Study Commons on the ground floor is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • Media and Equipment Distribution is open M-TH 7:45 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. To 5 p.m.
  • Most other areas of the library are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

For more information about the library, visit its website at www.library.sfsu.edu. To see a video of the LRS in action, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hnAElubfIY.

-- Jonathan Morales