MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXXI No. 5
May / June 2019
The Danger to Civilian Science
from the Growing Pentagon Budget
Greetings to You the Graduates –
And to Your Families!
Time to Up Our Game
An Update on MIT's Climate Action Plan
Rick Danheiser New Faculty Chair
Random Faculty Dinner Notes
Academic Year 2018-2019
Hayden Library Renovation:
What You Should Know
Introducing the Faculty Committee
on Campus Planning
Should MIT Break All Ties With Saudi Arabia?
U. S. Discretionary Spending 2017
Printable Version

Hayden Library Renovation: What You Should Know

Chris Bourg

When we announced our plans for the partial renovation of Hayden Library back in January, we shared that our goal for the project was to create a destination for MIT faculty, students, and staff on campus. The library should be a place to create, not just consume, knowledge, and we can provide that place to a wider variety of users and in more dynamic ways than ever before. The Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of Libraries challenged us to use library space to best serve the evolving needs of our community. This renovation is our opportunity to meet that challenge.

While some think that the availability of online information makes library space less relevant, our increasing foot traffic and frequent requests for using our spaces tell a very different story. The number of visits to the MIT Libraries has steadily grown over the last several years – to more than 640,000 at all libraries last year, and more than 232,000 at Hayden alone. Hayden is clearly an important space on campus. Yet the ways our community discovers, uses, creates, and shares knowledge has changed dramatically since Building 14 was built. As the Library Space Planning Group reported in 2017, a prime campus space like Hayden could be used much more effectively as the MIT Libraries’ “learning engine” and a community space, “while still incorporating essential physical holdings.”

While the renovation will provide comforts such as meeting rooms, a café, natural light, and abundant outlets, our vision for Hayden will always keep research at the center.

The MIT community needs access to tangible and digital collections, and ways to make connections between the two. They need computational access to information and serendipitous browsing, space to work together as a group and space for quiet reflection. We’re working toward flexible, multi-use spaces to accommodate it all.

We are currently in the design phase of the project with Kennedy & Violich Architecture. The project team’s explorations of how library space is and can be used at MIT has drawn from surveys of faculty, students, and staff; workshops with the MIT community; and open forums held by the Task Force on the Future of Libraries and the Libraries Space Planning Group. The design phase will conclude in early fall, and construction will begin in January 2020 with a reopening expected in fall 2020. 

We are very appreciative of our partnership with Campus Planning and Facilities to minimize construction time so that Hayden will be closed for a single semester. Here are some of the key changes to collections and services that MIT faculty should be aware of:

  • Hayden will close at the end of the fall 2019 term and is expected to reopen in September/October 2020.
  • Many of the collections currently located on the first and second floors, such as journals, DVDs, graphic novels, and theses, will be moved by October 2019. Visit for detailed information about access to these collections.
  • There will be no access to general collections on the basement level during construction. All MIT community members have borrowing and on-site browsing privileges at the Harvard Libraries and can use services such as Borrow Direct and Interlibrary Borrowing to request materials from other universities.
  • Course reserves will be available at other library locations. Faculty will be encouraged to submit requests for Spring 2020 course reserves before winter break to ensure students have access to the requested materials.
  • The Lewis Music Library and Distinctive Collections (formerly Institute Archives and Special Collections) will remain open, however there may be periods where the construction in Hayden will be disruptive to other parts of the building.

I encourage you to read more about the available services and access to collections during the Hayden closure, as well as our FAQs about the project, at If you have questions or concerns about the renovation’s impact on your work, please contact the renovation project team at or reach out to your department’s liaison librarian (see the list at

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