May 30, 2024
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YU’s Gottesman Library to Get Makeover

New York–Thanks to a generous donation from David S. Gottesman, former chairman of the YU Board of Trustees, and his wife, Ruth, The Mendel Gottesman Library, research center and student hub at Yeshiva University’s Wilf campus library will get a complete overhaul that will revamp the facility from ground level through the fourth floor. David Gottesman, is a grandson of Mendel Gottesman, and he participated in the planning and design of the library.

“Times have changed, but the facility has essentially remained the same,” said Vice President for Administrative Services Jeffrey Rosengarten, who is spearheading the project. “We knew that as a leading academic research institution, we needed to focus on updating the library to meet 21st-century demands.”

Months of preparation and research went into the planning of the renovation. Focus groups of students, faculty, and staff were charged with the task of making recommendations for changes that would meet the evolving needs of the library’s users, both from a physical perspective in the actual design of the building as well as technological considerations. Visits were made to other university libraries and consultations were held with Aaron Cohen Associates, who are library experts, as well as with leading designers and architects to evaluate different models. These efforts culminated in June 2012 with a summary report and master plan that proposed major changes in the look, feel, and orientation of the library. The report also found that there wasn’t adequate space for group study and that the overall atmosphere could be enhanced.

“This library was built in a different era where buildings were very fortress-like, so there isn’t enough natural light and the layout can be hard to navigate,” said Rosengarten. “Students who want to study and learn together often inadvertently disturb others, and for people who want to study alone, the existing footprint with open balconies makes the spaces noisy, providing an impediment to serious learning.”

The architectural firm ROART developed the designs in coordination with Robert Salpeter, the University’s director of planning, design, and construction. The designs were then vetted by the library professionals and university leadership. In October, R&S Construction firm was chosen to complete the project.

The renovations are scheduled to begin in January and are expected to take up to two years. Although significant changes will be made, the building and most of its facilities will remain accessible during this period.

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