August 27, 2007

Mann Library Gets New Look

Print More

Caution tape still adorns the entrance to Mann Library, but the newly renovated space celebrated its reopening Friday with an open house, the first event of several celebrating the newly renovated library. With a new atrium, gallery and café, the library marked its reopening with tours, live performances and hors d’oeurves.
The doors to Mann reopened on Aug. 20, revealing a new life sciences building with a library on four floors and laboratories and offices on the other two. Mann Library was originally built in 1952 and renovations were launched in 1996 to accommodate the library’s growing book collection and technology needs, as well as to make the building safer. The first addition to the library was completed in 2000, and in 2003 current renovations began. This semester marks the completion of all renovations.
“The changes just over the summer are enormous,” said Nakul Paul ’08, a student library assistant at Mann. “Last year on a tour, you couldn’t step foot into the new building without a hard hat. It is amazing how much work was completed over the summer.”
“It is so interesting to see that this new space came out of such messy construction,” said Allison Fritts-Penniman ’08, another student library assistant at Mann. “It is exciting to witness this whole project. I never got to see the old Mann, but the new facility is really nice and a great area to work and study in.”
The most recent changes to Mann include the addition of the Manndible Café, a café featuring locally grown food and products. The café is co-owned by Pam Gueldner and Kathleen Pasetty, Ithaca business partners who submitted a proposal for an eco-friendly café. Their idea was chosen last spring by a panel of students, faculty and staff from a pool of several proposals. The committee aimed to choose a café that stressed the importance of sustainability, a diverse menu and the use of the eatery as a central place for meeting and studying.
“We really wanted this to happen,” said Gueldner. “We wanted this café more than anyone, and we are thrilled to be able to start fresh with a new café where our focus can really be on sustainability. We are so happy to be here at Cornell.”
“Everything is compostable,” said Karen D’Apice, a barista at the new café. “The cups are corn based and the silverware is potato based, so both are 100 percent compostable, and everyone is encouraged to bring their own cup for coffee. We really want to educate people about composting and thinking about where you’re putting things. It’s really great to have this opportunity to start fresh and be here right from the beginning.”
The café currently offers espresso drinks from Gimme! coffee, as well as fresh local baked goods. By the end of September, Manndible hopes to be fully operating and offering salads, sandwiches and a burrito bar with vegan and vegetarian options.
“It will be really nice having a place to grab food and coffee here now,” said Torben Russo ’09. “But it is also nice that the construction has ended. It used to be hard to study with the sound of jackhammers in the background, but every table would still be packed with students studying. Now it will be that much better to study here.”
Aside from the café, the newly renovated library has an increased amount of study space, as well as a collaborative space for students to work on group projects and a graduate study area where graduate students can rent out desk and locker space for the academic year.
“We hope that Mann becomes a central place for students from all across Cornell,” said Theresa Wells ’92, the evening supervisor at Mann. “To me it feels like a family unit. That is what we hope for: that Mann will feel like a community center where students can study, rather than just a library.”