Nov 20, 2019
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Bryan Cole / The Collegian

3 things students can look forward to from the newly-reopened Henry Madden Library

Native American design

A Mono Indian master basket weaver knows patience, and so does artist and architect Susan Narduli.

Narduli filmed one of the last master basket weavers of the Mono Indian tribe as the weaver painstakingly completed one basket. One basket can take around one year to complete.

The 2,000-hour film will be displayed on an 18-foot-wide, 43-foot-high LED screen facing out across the Peace Garden.

This architectural and technological feat is just one example of the Henry Madden Library’s Native American-inspired design. A.C. Martin Partners, Inc. and Hillier Architecture worked with Narduli to create the library’s American Institute of Architects award-winning design.

One of the major themes of the design is apparent from the four-story ellipse at the entrance of the library.

“The weave of the ellipse represents the basket theme,” Dean of Library Services Peter McDonald said.
The tower is made up of three layers that include a large glass wall, a zinc screen and a wood lattice. Just inside, the second floor of the ellipse will have rotating exhibits, such as Ansel Adams photographs and Native American baskets.


Bryan Cole / The Collegian

While much of the Native American design was already planned with the renovation of the library, a $10 million gift from the Table Mountain Rancheria also helped influence the design.

“We need to recognize the contribution of the entire Native American community in the San Joaquin Valley,” University President John D. Welty said after news of the gift in 2006. “That wisdom and connection to the land needs to be cherished, recorded and passed on to future generations.”

Subtle features in the design highlight the university’s connection to the Central Valley’s Native American heritage, such as earth tone colors and basket weaving patterns along the walls and furnishings.
The back Northwest corner of the library, or the Elder’s Meeting Room, has glass hangings around the room depicting the history of local Native American tribes, and also the importance of Native American basket weaving.

An expanding collection

Between the philosophy section of the Henry Madden Library and the military history section are around 1 million books that students can actually now browse through.

That collection, which received its one-millionth book in 2001, is only going to grow even larger.
“We added 30,000 last year, two-thirds of which we bought,” Associate Dean of Library Services Dave Tyckoson said.

Tyckoson oversaw the move of this expanding collection from where the old library once stood, to a warehouse and back to campus over a three-year period. Now all in the newly renovated library, the big question for the staff was how to arrange the books.


Bryan Cole / The Collegian

“We spent a fair amount of time debating the placement of the books,” Tyckoson said. “Once you put it in you don’t want to move it all.”

Following the order of the Library of Congress call numbers, the decision was to start with the books that have an “A” call number at the front, or east, end of the library. Those books starting with a “Z” call number reach all the way to the back, or west, end of the lower collection level.

The moving phase for the library books is not completely over yet. According to McDonald, the collection is still being organized to take advantage of all the available space on the collection level.

For those students that don’t want to make the hike between philosophy, which is in the “B” call numbers, and military history, which is in the “Y” call numbers, they can instead look online where more of the collection is accessible.

Students can also still request books online and pick them up at the front circulation desk instead of browsing through the large collection.

While the library is slowly turning more digital, the collection will continue to grow as librarians order more bound books to add to the stacks for students to find for themselves.

“Starting Friday, students can browse as much as they want,” Tyckoson said.

Compact shelving

Around 45,000 shelves now fill what not even two years ago was a huge dirt hole.

These shelves hold the Henry Madden Library’s 1.2 million volumes.

With the push of a button the shelves move.

“Just press the button to open the area where you want to go in,” McDonald said.

This, the largest compact shelving unit in the world all on one floor, allows for more efficient storage. The rows upon rows of shelving housed in the library’s lower collection level move smoothly along electronic rails.

“This gives people a chance to browse while at the same time increases storage,” Tyckoson said.

Students push a green “move” triangle button to open the row and reach the books. If someone or something is in an aisle, the shelf will not move, but instead a red light will blink, indicating that the aisle is in use.

“Something as small as a pair of glasses will stop the shelving,” McDonald said, as he demonstrated with his own iPhone.

If another student is standing in the aisle and you need to get to another row, Tyckoson recommends asking politely for the student to move. Tables are at the end of the rows for students to use so that the aisles are not blocked

“Go get your books and bring it to the end,” Tyckoson said. “Don’t stand in the aisle.”

These state of the art shelving units are only on the lower collection level. The music, teacher resources and reference sections all also have new standard shelving.

The journals on the second floor have their own specialized shelving. While the current issue of the journal is displayed, lifting up the shelf will reveal previous issues of that same journal.

The second floor is primarily a selection of journals, with the bound periodicals, current issues and microfilm.

“Any way you want your journals, they’re all here,” Tyckoson said. “It’s been a dream of ours, but we never had the room.”

Now Tyckoson and his staff have enough room to expand the library’s collection, and add more compact shelving units if ever needed. Yet because of the capabilities of the compact shelves, Tyckoson doubts there will be much of a need for more in a while.

“We certainly don’t need to buy anymore of these shelves for my lifetime,” Tyckoson said.

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