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UB reopens Silverman Library after two-year, $7 million renovation

The Grand Reading Room, with its rich oak woodwork, offers students a comfortable and inspiring place to study in silence. Photo: Doug Levere

The redesign is first milestone of Heart of the Campus initiative to reimagine UB student services

Release Date: August 24, 2016

Photos: Doug Levere

This beautiful, inspiring space reimagines and reinvents the traditional role of the academic library, and gives UB students, faculty and staff many exciting opportunities to connect, share, learn and create new knowledge for the future.
H. Austin Booth, vice provost for University Libraries

BUFFALO, N.Y. – High-tech classrooms and group study spaces with 80-inch monitors. Video recording studios with editing suites. A café.

These are a handful of the many additions made to the University at Buffalo’s Oscar A. Silverman Library, which recently completed a $7.2 million renovation to transform the 45,000-square-foot space into a vibrant, state-of-the-art, intellectual hub for the campus.

“It is exciting to envision the innovative and collaborative work our students will be able to achieve in this re-imagined space,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “The Silverman Library is a shining example of the 21st century learning environment we are providing for our students so they are prepared to make lasting contributions to society.”  

The redesigned library was unveiled during a grand reopening celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 24, on the third floor of Capen Hall on the UB North Campus.

UB President Satish K. Tripathi; Provost Charles F. Zukoski; A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs; H. Austin Booth, vice provost for University Libraries; New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Kenmore); and UB alum Hillary Chiarella delivered remarks. The program also included self-guided tours of the facility and music by jazz ensemble The Jon Lehning Sextet.

“The transformation of Silverman Library represents an important milestone for the University Libraries,” said Booth.

“This beautiful, inspiring space reimagines and reinvents the traditional role of the academic library, and gives UB students, faculty and staff many exciting opportunities to connect, share, learn and create new knowledge for the future.”

Silverman Library, which receives nearly 1.3 million visits each year, will reopen to the public at the start of the fall semester on Aug. 29 and resume its role as UB’s only 24-hour library.

The redesign is a part of the Heart of the Campus project, a UB 2020 initiative to enhance the student experience by converting Capen Hall into the center of the academic spine, complete with student, learning, library and dining services.

The completion of Silverman Library is the first milestone of the Heart of the Campus initiative.

The third floor of Silverman Library now includes:

  • Seating to accommodate 880 people.
  • A grand reading room that features rich oak woodwork and archival images reflecting UB’s legacy, offering students a comfortable and inspiring place to study in silence.
  • Whispers at Capen, a café stocked with Starbucks products that will be overseen by UB Campus Dining and Shops.
  • Video recording studios and media editing stations where students and faculty can create, edit and view media productions. 
  • More than 1,000 power outlets that can support USB chargers.
  • Seventeen group study rooms with either 80-inch or 55-inch large screen monitors.
  • Two classrooms where faculty may experiment with state-of-the-art teaching technologies.
  • A gender-neutral bathroom and a lactation room for new mothers.
  • Study alcoves where groups of six to eight people can gather and discuss schoolwork.
  • One hundred public computing stations.

Silverman Library will no longer occupy the ground and first floors of Capen Hall, opening space for future Heart of the Campus projects. The second floor features study carrels and computing workstations.

Lockwood Memorial Library, which served as UB’s 24-hour library during the renovations, will return to its previous service hours. 

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