The University of Guyana (UG) yesterday signed a grant with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for just under US$150,000 ($31m) to begin the process for a new library while government has provided US$26, 000 towards the project.
The US$149,985 grant which has been provided under the bank’s technical assistance programme will fund a seven-month design and costing exercise which is the first phase in the construction of a modern library which will have less shelves and more computers.
According to University Librarian, Gwyneth George the new building which will be located west of the current library will have a layout which caters for both collaborative and independent spaces
She explained that in designing the building UG will focus on incorporating technology in such a way that both a space for learning and creating will be realized.
Spaces where people are free to sit where they wish and converse, special rooms and special equipment where students can prepare tutorials or design projects as wells as an Auditorium to teach librarians so that they can better assist student to access online learning material such as electronic books and journals are expected features of the new library.
George explained that since a 1997 assessment found the current library to be lacking the department has included a request for a library upgrade in every annual report and she is excited to finally see work being done.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Barbara Reynolds explained that the construction will be done in two phases with CDB’s grant being specifically earmarked for the first phase.
“While we have a conceptual layout we will have a team of civil and construction engineers do the highly detailed technical work. We will then have Drawing and Designs [at the end of seven months]. We anticipate that very soon you will see in the newspapers calls for expression of interest to provide these designs,” Reynolds explained.
CDB Director of Economics Justin Ram further explained that the Bank is aware of the constraints and deficiencies of the current library which prevent it from operating at an optimal level and is pleased to assist in addressing one of these primary constraints, poor infrastructure.
“Under this technical assistance grant a comprehensive assessment will be undertaken to determine the adequacy and suitability of the current infrastructure [and] final designs and cost estimates for construction of the new library will be prepared,” he said, noting that the CDB is “optimistic that this process will place the University further along the path to having new facilities that are environmentally resilient, socially inclusive and a place of study and lifelong learning for the men and women who attend this institution.”
Once completed the building will be “big enough” for the needs of the university community and have facilities for those members who have special needs.
The current Library building will then undergo an assessment of structural integrity.
“Providing it is structurally robust or can be made structurally robust it will be repurposed,” Reynolds noted.