Rebuilding Buley Library for the Future

Under the leadership of President Cheryl J. Norton, Southern has begun an exciting new journey. We have long been recognized as the university of opportunity by students in Connecticut and the region.In addition, we are taking on the role of university of choice, competing with the best schools for thebest student and faculty talent. We are already the second most popular choice of college in the statefor Connecticut’s high school graduates.

We take on new obligations as a university of choice. We recognize we are educating future doctorsand lawyers and accountants, our children’s teachers, the myriad professionals and business people and politicians with whom we will all deal, in short, the future citizenry of Connecticut. We have a responsibility to be sure that no limits are placed on our students—or their future successes—by limitations in our resources.

In this context, we remind ourselves that the library is a special building, that it occupies a special place on a university campus; it is the heart of the academic community, the building that represents the learning and culture for which universities are needed—and noted. Our goal in the new Buley is to provide unlimited access to the materials our students and faculty want, wherever in the world these materials may be stored


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The library is sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s ‘third place’ on a campus. It is not home, where we live; not classroom, where we work. (Although I’m sure it feels to some students as the place where they live, and to some as the place where they work; I never called my middle son in the four years he was an undergraduate but to be told that “He’s not here in his room, he’s at the library.”) It is, rather, the center of a community, a place where people from different parts of the community come together andengage one another in a variety of ways that help them learn and help them prepare to become citizensand leaders for Connecticut.

The new Buley Library will be special not only for what it is and what it does but also for where it is. (For those of you who use NAV systems, I am hoping Buley’s location will become the GIS datum for Southern Connecticut State University.) We bear witness today to the enrichment of Southern’s version of the New England town center, Buley Library at the head of the ‘Green,’ flanked by a new Student Center and the reborn Engelman Hall and soon to be joined by a full complement of new academic

Dr. Ed Harris, Dean and Interim Library Director