Chemistry Library – Changes for a Bright Future

December 12, 2016

If chemistry is, in part, the study of how matter changes, it seems somewhat symbolic that the Chemistry Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is set to undergo significant changes over the next two years. Beginning on December 23, 2016 the Chemistry Library will close in preparation for the Chemistry Building Project, set to begin in August 2017.

“With information and new knowledge increasingly being created, delivered and consumed online, the Chemistry Building Project has presented the UW-Madison Libraries, in collaboration with the Chemistry Department, an outstanding opportunity to re-envision library spaces and services that will help advance the work of faculty, staff, and students in Chemistry into the future,” said Deborah Helman, Director of Science and Engineering Libraries at UW-Madison.

While the library will close during this time of renovation, most of its services will simply be relocated. The Chemistry Library website will be available during this project, and it will continue to be a portal to chemical information resources, as well as a source for news regarding the new building. Chemistry Librarian Ariel Andrea will also remain in the Chemistry Building and continue to provide the same reference, instruction, and research services already offered.

Current Chemistry Library
Current Chemistry Library

“Librarian presence was something the Chemistry Department wanted to maintain in the new space,” explained Andrea. “I have been collaborating with the department during the design phases of the project, and I am confident the new space and service model will better meet the future needs of the department.”

The tables, chairs, and computers in the Chemistry Library space will be available for use during the school day for the 2017 Spring Semester, but the Library will no longer be staffed and or open during specific hours. Beginning summer 2017, the portion of the Daniels wing of the Chemistry Building that includes the library and lecture halls below will be demolished.

When it comes to relocating all the materials, here’s what students, faculty, and staff need to know:

  • Course reserve materials will be relocated to College Library and Steenbock Library. Students can look for their reserves in these locations. Faculty may continue to contact Ariel Andrea to facilitate reserves.
  • The Chemistry Library will no longer be a point of pick up or return for library items. Faculty and staff still in the Chemistry Building may have the option to have items delivered to their mailboxes. More information on this process is forthcoming.
  • The remaining collection from the library will be moved to Steenbock Library or other campus storage facilities, as appropriate. These materials will be unavailable in the library catalog until the move is complete (expected by the end of the 2017 spring semester).
Ariel Andrea, Chemistry Librarian
Ariel Andrea, Chemistry Librarian

When construction is complete, the Chemistry Library will reopen as the Chemistry Information Commons in 2019. At a time when the Libraries are in the midst of facilities master plan efforts, as well as consolidation efforts, the new Chemistry space is representative of the Libraries’ work to re-imagine physical spaces, services, and collections in order to create an improved user experience.


“I see this project as an example of the innovative thinking that will be the foundation of the broader planning currently underway within the Science and Engineering Libraries to expand our impact on research, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, enhance new ways of teaching and learning, and provide inspiring spaces that support students, faculty, and staff in the science and engineering community,” said Helman. “Throughout this project, Ariel has demonstrated great leadership and the modern thinking and skills needed to transform libraries for the future.”

The decision to house reserves at College and Steenbock will offer more students to access these materials more hours of the day. Office delivery should offset the loss of hold shelf services. When the new Information Commons opens, it will have hours that align with the new building a whole. Librarian time will also be refocused to address the growing range of new services for the faculty, students, and staff of the Chemistry Department and provide greater interaction.


“The Chemistry Building project has been a catalyst for changing the way I, as the Chemistry Librarian, provide research and instructional services to the Chemistry Department,” said Andrea. “While some collection-based services will need to be relocated, I am hopeful the new space will allow me to bring new services to the Department, including better support for grant compliance and the research life-cycle in general.”

For more information on the progress of the Chemistry Building project, visit the Chemistry Library page for frequent updates. If you have questions about the transition of the Chemistry library, contract Chemistry Librarian Ariel Andrea (