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iSchool and Libraries Announce Partnership for Space Sharing and Collaboration


June 29, 2021---UW Libraries and UW Information School are finalizing plans for a new project that will allow both the Libraries and the iSchool to address long-standing space challenges while increasing opportunities for synergistic collaboration on campus. The goals of the project are:

  • to serve iSchool students and support funded research by providing classrooms and lab space as well as adequate office space for faculty and staff;
  • to ensure long-term, responsible stewardship of the Libraries’ distinctive and valuable collections;
  • and to serve UW students through Library initiatives to provide innovative study and collaboration space.

The project has two components: 1) Significant expansion of climate-controlled off-site storage for UW Libraries collections and 2) Renovation of Allen Library South 1st Floor to provide space for iSchool research activities and engagement.

How will this project benefit the iSchool and its students?

As natural partners, collaborative space within the Libraries will provide opportunities to increase student engagement and leading-edge research within the fields of mis- and disinformation, civic engagement, and information and communication technology — critical issues within the field of librarianship and growing areas of excellence within the UW.

The Allen South 1st Floor renovation will include offices, collaboration spaces, and open workstation areas for faculty, staff and student researchers. Part of the project will also include some modifications to the iSchool’s space in Mary Gates Hall to accommodate additional needs; the goal being to provide a temporary home for iSchool programs until a permanent space allowing full consolidation of the iSchool is identified, at least three years or more.

The reconfigured Allen Library space will become home to programs with strong connections to the Libraries, including the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), recipient of a significant Gates Foundation grant to support leadership in shaping the future of libraries.

How will this project benefit the UW Libraries?

The Libraries has a longstanding need for additional climate-controlled storage space — a critical need for preserving collections. The project includes funding to build out as much as 30,000 square feet of new climate controlled shelving space at an off-campus facility, allowing the Libraries to better protect at-risk collections on campus, including the East Asia Library collection in the Tateuchi East Asia Library Auxiliary Stacks.

“This collaboration will allow Libraries to better preserve valuable Libraries collections while at the same time address on-campus space needs for the iSchool, a natural integrated partner of the UW Libraries,” says Betsy Wilson, vice provost and dean of the UW Libraries.

The project is funded jointly by the Provost, iSchool, UW Libraries, UW Facilities, and loans through the FAST Loan program. The first phase of the project is construction of the off-site storage area, tentatively scheduled to begin April 2022. When the off-site storage space is completed around the end of August 2022, the Libraries can then begin the process of reorganizing and relocating Libraries collections and books from Allen South and the Tateuchi East Asia Library auxiliary storage areas to the new facility. This is expected to take about four months. The Allen Library renovation for the iSchool is expected to begin in January 2023 and all phases of the project are scheduled to be completed by May 2023. While it's difficult to predict the exact timeline for major infrastructure projects, the project teams estimate that the iSchool will remain in the Libraries for at least 3 years, depending on the iSchool’s and UW’s progress on space consolidation options.

Allen Library will remain open during the renovation, and moving items off-site will not impact access to materials. All materials located in off-campus facilities are easily accessible — see the Auxiliary and Baker Auxiliary Stacks Retrieval. The existing space in Allen South is primarily shelving, with limited study desks, and the impact on individual study space will be minimal.

The UW Libraries and the UW iSchool are committed to providing transparent communication on the project development and programmatic impacts as new information becomes available.

For questions, please contact: SustainableScholarship@uw.edu