In this issue
- The library's reference area will be renovated, furnished
and named the James B. Nutter Sr. Family Information Center.
The 20,000-square-foot renovated
will promote student scholarship by providing a rich collection
of print and online information resources along with the
software tools and expert guidance necessary to employ these
The facility will allow students to work in groups or individually,
and will feature 101 desktop, standing and multipurpose
computer learning stations, 66 soft-seat workstations,
21 small meeting/group study areas, and several adaptive
stations for disabled students. Construction start date:
December 20, 2003.
- Renderings have been presented for new furnishings
in Ellis Library Reading Room 201 and include new office
and lounge furniture, carpet, and sealed cases for
some of the Rare Books collection. MU Libraries is seeking
a donor to fund the project.
Reading Room renovation reveals long-hidden details
ne Design & Construction Services job quite often leads to
another, and that’s exactly what happened at Ellis Library.
Cyndi Bodnar Spratt, interior design associate I, was assigned
three years ago to update the North Colonnade of Ellis Library,
and she’s been working ever since with MU Libraries officials
on plans for updates throughout the building.
“We realize she’s got other work to do on campus,
but we plan on keeping Cyndi busy at the library for a long time,” said
Bob Almony, assistant director of MU Libraries.
|Painter III Todd Curnutte paints molding on the ceiling of
the Ellis Library Reading Room, March 4, 2003.
Details make the difference
D & C S earlier in the summer finished the second floor Reading
Room, where Spratt highlighted the architectural detail of the
walls and ceiling by choosing several different paint colors instead
of the one cream-colored paint that had been used since Ellis Library
was built in 1916. The color-scheme chosen for the Colonnade, which
was funded primarily by Friends of the Library, will be carried
throughout most of the traditional renovated areas.
“The library is a traditional space so I chose classic colors
that wouldn’t be out of date in 10 years,” Spratt said. “The
color scheme also echoes some of the old book bindings I ran across
in doing research for the project.”
What started out as a Maintenance project to repair plaster and
freshen up the room with a new coat of paint, turned into an opportunity
to liven up an expansive room that has wonderful natural lighting
and plaster details in the ceiling that were virtually unnoticed
before. (Click here for
a closer look.)
“By pooling gift funds from the library and Maintenance
funds, we were able to make the most of the money, manpower and
equipment,” Spratt said.
|From left: Ron Jones, Clay Oswald, Richard Brown and Todd
Curnutte, along with Mark Perrigo, not pictured, plastered
and painted the Ellis Library Reading Room, March 11, 2003.
The project turned out to be one of the most extensive paint jobs
ever assigned to D & C S painters. Plasterers had their work
cut out for them in recreating details of the original plaster,
which literally crumbled to the touch.
Plasterer Clay Oswald molded and poured a new key to place over
one of the arched windows. Though the crew knows which one it is,
it’s a true match that won’t be detected by most visitors,
said supervisor Michael Kenney.
“It’s been this year’s pet project for the painters.
They’ve taken personal ownership of it and are proud to be
a part of changing the room’s entire look,” Kenney
|Ellis Library Reading Room. Photo courtesy of University
Archive photos indicate the room has changed very little since
its original patrons wore formal suits and long dresses to class.
Today’s improvements are drastic, however, and people are
“The Reading Room, while always a public and scholarly space,
will seem even more so as the renovation continues,” Almony
said. D & C S is currently working on estimates for new lighting,
flooring, furniture, shelving and the electrical and mechanical
necessities to make it friendly to today’s laptop-packing
With plans to display some of the Rare Books collection in new,
sealed display cases and shelving in the Reading Room, library
officials hope it will be “a scholar’s work area – a
cathedral to learning on the MU campus,” he said. “We
are excited about the possibilities for the room. We want to show
it off. We want to open it up for exhibits, donors’ receptions
and publicity events.”
|Ellis Library Reading Room before renovation. The
use of a single, cream-colored paint subdued decorative details
ceiling moldings. Highlighting those details with contrasting
paint brought them to the forefront for the first time since
the library was constructed in 1916.
||Ellis Library Reading Room after renovation. Cyndi Bodnar
Spratt, interior design associate I, worked with MU Libraries
Library’s renovation projects. Spratt continues to work
on projects for the Libraries as gift funds are raised to support
Developing future renovations
Based on compliments Almony has received from patrons and donors,
he hopes securing funding for further renovations will be easy.
MU Libraries Director Jim Cogswell and Library Development Officer
Gena Scott are already talking with prospective donors about funding
these projects. They are among the many projects being pitched
in the campus-wide Development campaign that began September 19.
Donors being targeted are members of Friends of the Library, a
traditional, volunteer organization originally started in the ‘60s
to fund book donations; or the Library Society, a new organization
for major donors to the library, who pay an annual membership of
$1,000 ($500 for MU staff) and receive automatic membership into
the University’s prestigious Jefferson Club.
“Many of our donors have been in awe of the Colonnade and
Reading Room projects,” Almony said. “We’re going
to give them the opportunity to help us make the library look even
better in the years to come.”
For related information see: