Lattes and Literature

The Silverman Library is reborn as a state-of-the-art learning landscape


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“It's so stunning, the way they were able to take the space here and turn it into something really modern and useful. ”
Hillary Chiarella, BS '16, Environmental Engineering

By Lauren Newkirk Maynard

UB’s Oscar A. Silverman Library underwent a two-year, $7.2 million renovation, transforming the 45,000-square-foot space into a vibrant intellectual hub on the second and third floors of Capen Hall.

The library, which gets nearly 1.3 million visits each year, reopened to the public at the start of the fall semester, resuming its former policy of staying open 24 hours. The redesign is the first 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, library and dining services.

New features of the 880-seat library include high-tech classrooms, group study spaces with 80-inch monitors and video recording studios with editing suites. A grand reading room with oak woodwork and archival images of historic UB offers students a quiet, comfortable and inspiring place to study. And literal signs of the times can be found on the doors of the new gender-neutral bathroom and lactation room for new mothers.

Of course, no collegiate study space would be complete without coffee. Whispers Café at Capen, a sister eatery to Whispers Café at Abbott on the South Campus, serves caffeinated drinks and light snacks to fuel any kind of wick-burning UB students dream up.