Hedi Steinberg Library Set To Undergo Renovations, Timeline Unclear
The Beren Campus’ Hedi Steinberg Library will be undergoing renovations to update and redesign parts of the library, The Commentator has learned.
As per Paul Glassman, director of Scholarly and Cultural Resources, and Edith Lubetski, head librarian at Hedi Steinberg Library, Hila Stern, an architect and designer of Tel Aviv University, is in charge of redesigning the Hedi Steinberg Library. A new research instruction lab, which will be subdivided, is planned in the redesign. The lab would act as a classroom for the use of essential on-site research instruction. It would be open to the entire Beren Campus. The lab could be used as a group study room when it would not be in operation by classes, and there will be newly-renovated group study rooms with flat-screen TVs and improved screen-sharing technology. They are also planning for new support and information desks, carpeting, lighting, as well as a range of seating options, including lounge seating.
“The reimagined space will greatly benefit student learning,” said Rina Krautwirth, a research and instruction librarian at the Hedi Steinberg Library. “I feel that redesigning the reference desk will provide the students with enriched access to reference services [and] I expect that more students will use the library because of these changes.”
A timeline of these plans is unclear due to New York State spending controls, which froze the issuance of contracts for program applicants, such as YU. “Program applicants depend on contracts to inform the procurement process and ensure availability of funds,” according to YU Director of Government Relations Jon Greenfield.
Once the spending is unfrozen, the “project timeline would be determined by the state’s ability to process all application documents and then ultimately issue a contract,” Greenfield said. “Until then, it would be difficult to venture a timeline.”
The reconstruction will be paid for by a $250,000 grant from New York State Assembly Member Nily Rozic. “Assembly Member Rozic is a longstanding supporter of education and a friend to Yeshiva University,” Greenfield said. “The assembly member recognized the value of our library services on the Beren Campus as a cornerstone of the university’s commitment to education and decided to allocate funding to the improvement of the Steinberg Library.”
The Hedi Steinberg Library was last renovated in 2016. The renovation was limited to the first floor of the library, and it included the conversion of a periodical room into group and individual study rooms. The upcoming renovation will be similar to the Wilf Campus' Mendel Gottesman Library renovation, which began in 2015 and ended in 2017, in terms of updated software and new study rooms.
The library staff appears to be very optimistic regarding the renovation. “I am looking forward excitedly to the implementation of the renovation,” Lubetski said. “The new look should be very welcoming and attractive. The added classrooms [and] study rooms will be a wonderful addition [and] we expect the students to be very happy with the changes.”
Glassman shared, “We believe the results will be a comfortable and flexible environment that supports individual and group study-and student success.”
Students seem to be delighted with the future renovation as well. “YU has been making a lot of changes lately ... that some people approve and some disapprove,” Amalya Teitlebaum (SSSB ‘23) expressed. “However, you cannot find a single person [who] would disapprove of the incredible renovations of the library. I personally can't wait to see it after it's completely renovated!”
“The library definitely gives more … of an older feeling,” Jacqueline Rabih (Katz ‘24) told The Commentator, “a new renovation [will] give more of a fresh feeling…[and] is a great route to take given that change is always for the better.”
Photo Caption: The Hedi Steinberg Library
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University
Editor's Note: This article was updated on April 19 to correct that Lubetski, and not Glassman, indicated that the construction will most likely begin over the summer, pending approval from Mr. Greenfield's office. This article was further updated on April 28 after The Commentator learned that it received incorrect information regarding the schedule for the library renovations. The Hedi Steinberg Library renovations are unlikely to take place over the summer due to NYS spending controls instituted during the COVID-19 era, and a timeline, at this time, is unclear. Other aspects — specifically the background of these plans and the funding — were clarified and corrected as well.