Having just recently visited the Cabot Science Library after its redesign, I was truly delighted to spend an afternoon working in its basement. Most noticeably for me, they’ve taken what could have been (and was) an incredibly claustrophobic, dark space and completely opened it up. Natural light flows through almost every area, and the use of an open floor plan combined with tiered balconies and overhangs gives the entire space a sense of movement, connection, and flow. The space has also been outfitted with numerous private and shared study spaces, all of them accessible and easy to see if they’re in use (for the private rooms) so that almost any type of studier (except the one who prefers their room) can use the space. Secondly, the use of glass dividers maintains the communal reinforcement of a good work ethic by allowing others to see you working, while providing a serene space to work in relative quiet. Lastly, the update of furniture and infusion of color throughout the floors gives the library that final burst of new life that I think will truly enliven it as an inclusive and accessible study space.
The only downfall to the library comes with the rumored opening of a Clover in place of Greenhouse Café. What would have been truly an ideal library in almost every sense is deadened a bit by this pricey establishment with niche cuisine. Whereas the rest of the library caters to the full mass of Harvard students, Clover is overly specific, almost exorbitantly expensive, and a real let down from the quality and variety of Greenhouse. Only in this way does the renovation fail to improve upon the previous library complex.