Fenwick on the move

By Yu Bai

On November 16, Fenwick Library started a book move.

According to Diane Smith, associate university librarian, as collections are packed up and moved into the new space, Mason students, faculty and staff should plan to make sure they have the materials they need for papers, projects and finals.

This is the second time on record that Mason’s book collections have been moved. More than a million books, massive archives and various equipment will be relocated into the new Fenwick Library facility, which is comprised of the newly constructed spaces in addition to existing wings B and C.

Although the moving process will not be completed until the end of February, students will still have access to all the research materials and services Fenwick currently offers. Already, the library is allowing students to order books by submitting book request forms though the its website. However, students have to allow some time for the librarians to prepare all the needed materials. Within 24 hours after submitting their orders, students can claim them at the main Fenwick information desk. Current services at Fenwick Library, including study rooms and help from librarians, are still available and will be offered throughout final exams.

According to Jennifer Wilder, development and communications officer at George Mason University Libraries, she and other staff “are working very hard to make sure that students will not be affected [by the move].”

Library services on campus will continue throughout winter break at Gateway Library, since a closure at Fenwick is scheduled from December 19 to January 18. Fenwick Library will not be open to the public until its official opening on January 19, 2016. During closure, students may still fill out request forms and pick up books from the Gateway Library information desk within 24 hours.

For students planning to order books from libraries at other universities in cooperation with Mason, the deadline for interlibrary loan requests submission is December 7.

No interruption in service will strike the Gateway Library or libraries on the Arlington and Science and Technology campuses. Fenwick Gallery’s current exhibition, “Interlude,” has been made available online for the duration of the move.

Fenwick Library, with a history older than that of the Fairfax campus, first opened on December 15, 1967. It has continued to serve students on the Fairfax campus by giving them a quiet place to study, meet friends or just relax. The current expansion of Fenwick marks the largest over the past 30 years.

According to “A History of George Mason University,” a webpage dedicated to recording and celebrating the school’s history, construction on Fenwick took 16 months to complete. The website wrote that Fenwick was able to store 50,000 volumes by the fall of 1967, enough to fulfill the requirement for all two-year institutions at the time, and was ready for use by late October 1967.

Library staff, with dozens of student volunteers, all participated in the big Move-in Day in 1967, carting some 20,000 volumes from the East Building to the new library to be shelved. As Mason developed into a larger institution, administration increased Fenwick’s storage capacity to 100,000 volumes, the new minimum required for all four-year institutions. Today, the capacity of Fenwick is more than 10 times that size.

John Zenelis, university librarian and dean of libraries, said that although students and faculty may feel temporarily inconvenienced over the next two months, the new Fenwick Library will most certainly be worth the wait.