Roy O. West Library Opening Brings Changes to DePauw

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Over a year after its closing, Roy O. West Library is set to open by the beginning of the Spring 2023 semester, according to DePauw systems librarian Brooke Cox. With students anxious for access to the newly updated $30 million-dollar library, Cox assured students that “construction at Roy O. West is on schedule.” The opening of the new Roy will prompt several changes to DePauw’s campus, including the moving of departments to new buildings, leading to a shift in DePauw’s campus culture. 

Construction of Roy began in June 2021, according to DePauw’s website (Roy O. West Library renovation to break ground in June - DePauw University). With millions of dollars coming from donors and alumni, construction on Roy focused on creating a new and dynamic space, with significant changes to “finishes, lighting, and available spaces,” according to Cox. Those available spaces include “16 group study rooms” and many spaces for individual study. The famous Roy treehouse study spaces have also undergone renovation, according to DePauw’s website (Library Renovation FAQ - DePauw University). 

Cox expressed the updated Roy will introduce many new features for students to enjoy, including an “expanded Café Roy,” a central staircase leading “grandly from the lower level up to the second floor,” and “a gorgeous two story reading room.” Not only will the spaces themselves be updated, but so will technology access. 

“In this renovation, the architect paid special attention to electricity and made sure power is easily accessible throughout the library, so there are no more extension cords or crawling under desks to plug in your charger,” Cox said. 

Roy’s opening will also create a new space for DePauw’s Academic Resource Center (ARC), where students can receive writing, STEM, and speaking aid from peer tutors. Lynn Ishikawa, the director of the Writing Center, expressed her excitement for the ARC’s move from its current home in Asbury to Roy. 

“I think we're most excited about two things: the flexibility and convenience of the space and the opportunity for more collaborative relationships with our library colleagues,” she said. 

The new space will allow students to choose between two tutoring spaces––one main space and another in the back, for quieter and more private tutoring sessions. Ishikawa also noted that the Speaking and Listening Center will have its own space. The ARC plans to move into Roy in January. 

One other change for students to look out for as Roy opens is the move of the Classics Department. Dr. Pedar Foss, professor and chair of the classical studies department, explained that “Classical studies will be moving to the first floor of Asbury Hall on the west side, where the current Academic Resource Center sits.” This change comes for two reasons: the opening of Roy and the creation of the new business school, which will be housed in Harrison Hall. Dr. Foss noted that the new space will allow the department to “meet with students, hold small events, compile a study library for students to consult, and display the many objects and artifacts that help us teach our discipline.” The department also plans to obtain a large chalkboard for outdoor teaching sessions in nicer weather. According to Dr. Foss, the history and psychology departments will also be moving out of Harrison Hall, but this is due to the new business school, not Roy opening. 

As DePauw prepares to open the new library for the first time, students can expect lots of changes to the DePauw campus and community. From new study spaces to moving departments, campus will look and feel different during the Spring semester. 

When asked about how Roy’s opening will change campus, Cox said, “The opening of Roy O. West will be, to my mind, a calling together of the DePauw community. . . I am most excited to welcome students to Roy O. and see how they use the space.”

 For more information about Roy O. West’s construction, as well as updates, students can follow @depauwlibraries on Instagram, or visit DePauw’s website (https://www.depauw.edu/offices/finance-administration/buildingdepauw/current-projects/roy-o-west-library-renovation/ ).