An Inside Look at the Charles Library

After breaking ground three years ago, the brand-new Charles Library opened its doors to students for a first look on Sunday.

Hundreds of students and Temple University faculty got the opportunity to take personal tours and explore the state-of-the-art facility. The Charles Library sits at the intersection of Pollet Walk and 13th Street, in the footprint of the now demolished Barton Hall.

The Charles Library boasts many upgrades over its predecessor just across the street. Brand new work spaces, an Exhibition hall, Media/VR Production Centers, and rooftop green spaces and seating are among new upgrades. 

“There are so many spaces in here for students to enjoy. There’s 45 study rooms as well as an almost fully sustainable green roof,” says Joe Lucia, the dean of libraries at Temple University. 

Lucia says that Charles Library’s green roof is one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania.

The most prominent, and highly publicized feature of the new Charles Library is what is known as “Book Bot” – a fully robotic book retrieval system. Students can request a book from their phones and the Book Bot will retrieve the book from one of the 35,000+ stainless steel bins. Upon retrieval, the bin is taken to the first floor of Charles Library where a staff member will retrieve the book and have it ready for pickup. 

“We aim to have a book in a student’s hands within 12-15 minutes. Of course, that’ll vary depending on how busy things may get,” says Lucia. 

Lucia says that the need for the Book Bot was to increase as much usable space as possible in Charles. 

Temple Update was given a tour of the closed-off fourth floor of the Charles Library before being opened to the public. The fourth floor is surrounded by tall windows that reveal the rooftop green spaces, and scenic views of campus as well as the city. A graduate-student only study area, access to the rooftop seating area, and meeting spaces are among other features. A small percentage of the staggering 2 million book count that Temple Libraries has are displayed on book stacks along the fourth floor. 

While the facility is open to students for usage, the finishing touches on the building are ongoing. Installation of monitors, finishing the rooftop seating area, and lighting are among the final projects. 

The official dedication of the Charles Library is expected to take place on September 12th. According to Lucia, Governor Tom Wolf is slated to make an appearance for the grand opening. 

Charles Library is expected to be completed by the end of October. 


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