Library Director Michelle Spomer Oversees Barbour Library Renovation

The month of August proved eventful for Michelle Spomer, Donald G. Miller Librarian and director of the Clifford E. Barbour Library. After a year-long, complete renovation of the Library, Michelle and her staff helped move 300,000 books back into the building, arrange them on new shelving throughout the three-story, now environmentally friendly structure, and settle into their new office spaces. Having assumed her directorship when the renovation project was being finalized and implemented, Michelle is more than pleased with the outcome.

“The ‘new’ Barbour Library provides a variety of spaces that support the research needs of students, faculty, and visiting scholars, as well as collaborative learning spaces for the PTS community and venues for a variety of on-campus events,” she notes. “Some of the new spaces include a café, an open lounge with a fireplace, the Rossin Writing Lab, the Integrative Learning Space, the Cromie/Desert Ministries Group Study Room and two other such rooms, and the Fred Rogers Family Room for students who need to bring children with them while they study.”

Michelle also believes that the placement of study carrels along walls at the periphery of the stacks, where library users can benefit from the natural light coming in from the windows, will enhance study in these more private spaces. “Only in the Reference Room will people need to remain quiet,” says Michelle. “We want the Library to be a place that encourages collaborative and conversational learning as well as classroom and individual learning,” she explains.

Michelle is also glad to highlight some of the less noticed but not less important improvements accomplished by the renovation: “Barbour Library now has ample electrical outlets and Wi-Fi capability throughout the building; special-needs access via the entrance ramp and a new, enlarged elevator reaching all three floors; and bright, energy-saving lighting—especially in the lower level!—not to mention new plumbing and bathrooms.” Additionally, a new HVAC system will ensure the longevity of the Library’s print holdings long into the future.

The completed renovation project marks a capstone achievement of the Seminary’s recently completed Reaching Forward campaign. “This beautifully renovated library is the result of the support, hard work, and dedication of the PTS staff, our donors, and many others,” Michelle notes. “LGA Partners created the architectural design, and PJ Dick Construction brought it to life with the help of several local contractors. Workscape and JP Jay provided the furniture and shelving. Iron Mountain and Starck Van Lines provided storage and moving services for our collections. Thank you!”

Michelle Spomer Barbour Library Pittsburgh