Who among our more than 150,000 living JMU alumni does not have a fond memory of Carrier Library?
At some point, all of us passed through this venerable building and contemplative space, which has served as the intellectual and cultural crossroads of campus since 1939. Bethany Nowviskie, dean of JMU Libraries, described this intersection as, “People, ideas, disciplines, fields — the past and the future all come together in Carrier in really exciting ways.”
While Carrier has undergone many modifications through the years, including a major addition in the early ’80s, the time has come to fully renovate and further expand the building for many reasons, most especially because of its heavy usage.
“The libraries on JMU’s campus are some of our most heavily trafficked places. They’re always lively and busy, and I think that’s because students love to be in spaces that inspire them to focus on their work,” Nowviskie said.
Plus, how we consume, interpret and disseminate knowledge changes almost daily; this renovation and expansion project will transform Carrier into a library of the future. The project is well-timed with the evolution of JMU overall. Our new Carnegie classification as a high-research doctoral institution and our rise to the national rankings requires facilities that match the institution’s profile.
To that point, Nowviskie said, “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for all of us at JMU to build the academic library that this campus needs and deserves, and that fits its status as a national university. So we’re all really invested in getting this right."
The new Carrier Library will have many features, including a 24-hour student study space; large, beautiful, book-lined reading rooms; outdoor terraces; consultation and group study rooms; and expanded facilities for library instruction, innovative educational technology, digital scholarship, distinctive collections and more. The renovated building will also house a café and the Furious Flower Poetry Center.
Renovations and expansion are scheduled for completion in December 2025. But it will take several months to move the collections, equipment, furnishings and offices back inside, and to prepare the building for students. A grand re-opening is planned for the start of the new school year in 2026.
For more of this story, read the Fall issue of Madison.