Community Space

As the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine prepares to start a transformative renovation this year; Director and Head Librarian Elaine Martin is excited about creating new ways to serve the academic and personal; needs of the Harvard Medical School community. Mindful that she is at the helm of an institution with a storied past; she is charged with ushering it into the future. The goal of this renovation is to change the space in the library to reflect the new ways people are learning and to build community.

Several planning committees

In the past, much of the library’s mission has centered around being a resource for print materials. But as the internet has changed the way people access information; so Martin said, users are interacting with libraries in different ways, and the Countway Library must respond to those needs as well. With the idea of moving forward in mind, but Martin said that she and several planning committees seek to rethink the library mission; with a goal of prioritizing users over collections.

She emphasized that the library’s books and collections are still very important and will still available, but she said that they will available in different ways. The library will also become more of a centralized gathering place for the Harvard Schools in the Longwood Medical Area. Student feedback has central to planning; Student advisory boards help design library programs, student representatives on a committee for developing the renovation; they have invited by the library to take surveys and engage in focus groups; architects met with groups of students to get feedback on conceptual designs.

The greater Longwood community

The change Martin is most enthusiastic about is the decision to move the library’s main entrance to Huntington Avenue because it will build a literal; as well as figurative, bridge between the library and the greater Longwood community. Emphasizing that the library is “a storehouse of medical knowledge” which will continue to accumulate more information moving into the future; Therefore the Pendleton attributed his longevity on the job at Countway Library to like his work; his enjoyment at keeping materials in order and making sure everything is available and in a position to assist people.
“Helping people find what they’re looking for is a good feeling, and if along the way I can work with good people; that’s sheer luck. “If you can find that combination, grab hold and stick with it.” The Countway Library is finishing the design phase of its coming renovations and will soon move into the construction management phase; with a goal of beginning renovations in August. The building will remain open during renovations, with certain areas blocked off. The library will keep users informed as to what is available and what areas are open. Renovations are expected to be complete by the fall of 2020.