Origin story

In 1970, Diana Ross was belting about a love so pure that no mountain — or valley or river — could get in her way. Jack Nicholson was spinning out as an alienated oil rigger. Postage stamps cost 6 cents. (People used postage stamps.) And Moffitt Library was a cutting-edge space for undergraduates, having opened in September of that year. Since then, the digital age has radically transformed nearly every facet of our lives. So shouldn’t the library change, too?

Rendering of new center for connected learning
Moffitt Circulation Desk, pictured Feb. 2017, offers students assistance in checking out and locating books from the Main Stacks and NRLF. Students and university staff at the Free Speech Cafe, located next to Moffitt Library on Aug. 16, 2017. Visitors study in Makerspace in Moffitt Library on Oct. 24, 2019. The U.C. Berkeley Library has begun planning for renovations to take place in the first three floors of Moffitt Library, photographed Oct. 23, 2018.

A revolutionary new space

The new vision for Moffitt, called the Center for Connected Learning, is the library of the future, designed to meet students’ needs in the 21st century. Gone are the dim, rigid spaces where students are disconnected from nature — and one another. Instead, the Center for Connected Learning will be packed with flexible, sunlight-drenched rooms (with ample seating) that can adapt to students’ changing needs. It will provide the tools and technology to innovate and solve problems. And it will serve as a cohesive, inspiring space that enriches the experience of each undergraduate at this world-class university.

The vision

What should the library of the future look like? Answering that question — a tall order — has relied upon Berkeley’s most valuable resource: its people. Across workshops and conversations with members of the Berkeley community, a vision for the Center for Connected Learning at Moffitt Library began to take shape. Architecture firm BNIM drew on the results of those meetings, along with plenty of other research and outreach — including 94 meetings with more than 150 people — to crystallize the vision for the library’s lower three floors.

SketchSmall sketches

 

A student gesturing towards a whiteboard

Students at the heart

Dreaming up a new vision for the library has relied heavily on feedback and ideas from undergraduates, the very people the library is designed to serve. So what do they want to see in the Center for Connected Learning? Many emphasize a strong sense of community, where students can work with, and learn from, one another. Some want to be able to plug into the latest technology. Others want a place that embodies a spirit of innovation and recognizes that the people with the boldest ideas often make the biggest difference. And nearly everyone agrees that there should be more seats — a valuable commodity around campus, especially when exams hit.