Campus Celebrates New Library

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The Sojourner Truth Library celebrated its reopening with a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of a $14.3 million renovation on April 21.

Many figures involved in the completion of the project including state policymakers, campus officials, representatives of architectural and construction companies and library staff who attended the ceremony.

“This ribbon cutting ceremony is a celebration of the great collective achievement of this renovation project,” President Donald Christian said.

Improvements to the library included renovations to the exterior facade to increase natural light along with enhancing the view of the nearby Shawangunk Ridge, as well as additions to the interior. The interior features new group study rooms and a conference room, enhanced public gathering areas, new furniture, a new central service desk, a Digital Arts and Humanities Lab, and a new cafe “where our students tend to be living in,” Christian said.

Other notable speakers included N.Y.S. Assemblymember and alumnus Kevin A. Cahill, who as a commuter student would go to the library during the day between classes.

“The library is one of the most important buildings on campus,” Cahill said. “It’s the building every student is assigned to, regardless of major or discipline. It’s the center of many colleges including our college.”

Journalism student and Oracle A&E editor Sam Manzella is a reference assistant at the library and spoke about the importance of the Sojourner Truth Library in her life.

“As a reference assistant I’ve seen the changes the library has undergone firsthand and the dedication of our library staff, that worked tirelessly to get the space ready and functional for students,” Manzella said. “The Library feels like a second home to me, and I know many other students who feel the same way.”

The project had more than 40 subcontractors, including many from the Hudson Valley and nearly all from New York State and generated about 100 construction jobs.

The ribbon cutting was followed by arts and academic events at the library like musical performances by student groups and a play from Assistant Professor Theatre Arts Bria Walker.