Jean Nelson

About Jean Nelson

Jean Cardinale Nelson is the head of the UConn Libraries' Public Programming, Marketing & Communications efforts.

Exciting Changes Ahead! Homer Babbidge Master Plan


HBL_WestSince 1978, the Homer Babbidge Library has served as an intellectual, learning, cultural, creative and social hub for the UConn community. Our unique role on campus comes from both our physical location and our mission to overcome boundaries and serve all disciplines.  As UConn continues to look towards its future, we have made a commitment to adapting the space within the brick exterior of the Babbidge Library into a center of innovation, knowledge and University growth and development to further the University’s mission of excellence in research, education, service and engagement.

Principles Around Space Changes

The proposed changes to the University Libraries’ flagship facility reflect the desire to continue to be the intellectual hub of campus, updating the facility to foster reaching, teaching and learning activities across disciplines. Design principles include:

  • Providing a variety of areas and choices that support the different phases of the learning and research process across academic disciplines, from contemplative study to dynamic experiential teamwork
  • Showcasing academic, intellectual, cultural or creative activities and accomplishments
  • Seeking strategic partnerships and organizations with relevant services and relationship to the mission of the Library and be mutually supportive
  • Creating a campus hub for serendipitous or informal interactions between faculty, students, and researchers
  • Seeking to continually expand study space to address the growing student and faculty population
  • Supporting both academic and social activities that bring the community together

Changes have started this June so stay tuned to this blog as well as Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Flooring Renovation – September 6

We’ll start out with good news – the carpeting project is primarily complete!  All places where carpeting was to be put in has been done. There are several places where “punch list” items will need to be addressed, including the sides of the platforms on Level 1 and some other trouble areas that they will work on throughout the semester.

A good number of the staff in the administrative offices have moved back and will continue next week.

The new carpeting in the Administrative Office Suites.

The new carpeting in the Administrative Office Suites.

And for the bad news. While the carpeting is complete, the bathrooms are not.  The basement bathrooms will begin demo next week.  This will take 4-5 days and unfortunately will be loud.  We apologize in advance for the lack of serenity that you can typically find here in Babbidge, but we need to keep the project moving along. During the re-tiling, they will also be fixing some remaining issues in the levels 1 and 2 bathrooms.  The work means that at some point each set of bathrooms will be closed for a day or two.

Flooring Renovation Update – August 30

Welcome back!

If you have not been with us all summer, you came back to a new look in many of the spaces in Babbidge.  The project is still in progress and we are happy to report that most of the public areas are open for the first week back.

Here is where we are:

Levels 2 & 3 Lobbies – have been completed.

Administrative Offices – They will be done this week and the staff located in this area will be moving back in on Tuesday & Wednesday.

Levels 1 & 2 Bathrooms – If they are not as of this post, they will be open today.  The final piece was getting the toilet paper holders on so folks could do their business.


Elevators – Did you see how great the floor looks as opposed to the stained carpeting that was there? The base still needs to be applied but I’m sure you will agree they look great!

What’s next?

Basement Bathrooms – The public bathrooms on Level B will be offline starting next week.  We apologize in advance for the noise disruption that will happen when they demo the rooms, but we expect it to be quick.

Class of 1947 – They will start carpeting that next week and we hope to have it back online for use by the week of the 9th.

Thanks to everyone for their patience.  We hope you have a great weekend!

Flooring Update – August 22nd

Only a few more days before the start of school and that means the contractors are putting finishing touches on many of the spaces they have been working on.  Transition strips, securing handrails, and general clean-up are the name of the game.

All lobbies are open to foot traffic as well as all of the classrooms, with the one exception of the Class of 1947 room on the Plaza.

We know that having the lobbies inaccessible is inconvenient, but we hope you will agree that the final product is worth it!

Level 3 Lobby

Level 3 Lobby

Work continues on the carpeting in our Administrative Offices over the next two weeks.  If you need to pick up your paycheck or have other business with the office, the receptionist has been moved to just before the Auriemma Reading Room on the Plaza level.  The rest of the staff has been moved around and the reception desk can help you find anyone you need.   The restrooms on Levels 1 & 2 are still not available.  We are awaiting the partitions to be installed and hope to have that ready by early next week.  Please use the restrooms on Levels 3 & 4, or on the Plaza.


What’s next?

Elevators – the flooring on the elevators is being replaced with ceramic tile (yeah!!) and they will work on one elevator at a time over the next week.

B Level Restrooms – they will begin to work on these possibly this week, but by next week for sure.   Again, we are grateful for your patience and work will continue throughout some of the semester, as well as during the winter breaks.

Babbidge Flooring update – 8/7

The flooring project is moving along here in the final weeks of the summer.  Here’s where we are at:

Level 3 – is open for business, including all of the study carrels.  There are some odds and ends still to do, including moving back of furniture, but it should not affect the use of the 3rd floor.  Tomorrow they will begin on the Graduate Student Study Center.

Level 1 & Level 2 Bathrooms – should be completed by the middle of next week.

Plaza Level – The staff area behind the iDesk is completed and this week they have been working on the Auriemma Reading Room, the staff lounge and the 24-hour study room.  They should be cleared of those areas later this week.  The Auriemma Reading Room will stay off line for a bit longer, as it will be the space where the administrative office furniture will be stored when that space is done.  That space, and the Class of ’47 are the last pieces to be done on the Plaza Level.

Level 1 – is completed in terms of the bulk of the carpeting.  As on Level 3, there is clean-up and pieces that still need to be done.  We also will be working on getting the furniture back where it belongs next week.  The Q Center is open, and the W Center should be back in operation next week.  The Digital Learning Center and our own help desk are also working to get their space back in working order.


Flooring Renovation Update – 7/26

Here are the latest updates for you regarding our flooring renovations:

Level 3unfortunately there are still some study carrels that have not been carpeted and we are awaiting an estimate of when they will be available. 

Level 1 & Level 2 Bathrooms – are currently off line and are being worked on.  The demo should be mostly done and they will be working on the new tiles soon.

Plaza Level – They made record time in this area and are done with the carpeting behind the iDesk.  Staff will be moving back into their offices through the early part of next week.

Level 1 – For those who have been on Level 1, you will see that although it is in a constant state of motion, they are moving along rapidly and that is great news.  The majority of the North side is done and they will continue in a counter-clockwise pattern around the floor.

The Q Center is still able to follow their summer hours, they are just on the South side of the floor.  If you are looking for the Digital Learning Center, Steve Park is temporarily located in the staff area of Level 1.  If you need his assistance, please stop by the help desk on that floor.

Update for July 24th

If you are anywhere near the 1st floor of the library this morning, you are certainly aware of the next phase of the flooring renovations.

The crew has begun to remove the carpeting on Level 1, starting with the electronic classrooms on the North side of the building.  They are also starting on some of the carpeting leading to those rooms.  Today and tomorrow we expect some loud periods when they use the machine so if you are honestly looking for some quiet, this is not the place to be. The sound is muffled as you climb higher into the building.  We do have earplugs if you wish, just ask any of the service desks.

Traffic patterns on the floor will change, but we will do our best to keep all of the computers and other services on the floor accessible.

Other projects to keep watch on include:

  • Levels 1 & 2 Restrooms are closed.  Bathrooms are located on Level B, Plaza, Level 3 and Level 4.
  • Level 3 (South Side) – closed through Monday, July 29th
  • Auriemma Reading Room – closed through Wednesday, August 7th

Flooring Update – 7/11

While there has been progress made, the timeline for completion of all of the public flooring changes will no longer be by the end of the summer.  With that said, let’s tell you where we have made progress.

The 4th floor lobby is open.  There are a few small details left, but if you have been up there I think you will agree it looks great! The addition of ceramic as a boarder around the room makes the space look larger, and the wear and tear on those high traffic areas will be much less as we move forward.

 4th floor lobby

3rd & 4th floor bathrooms – The new tile work is almost completed and once the partitions are installed they will be ready for use again.  We hope to have that ready by mid-week next week.

3rd floor carpeting – The North side is open.  Much of the furniture that can be, has been put back including the serpentine tables (which also received some maintenance improvements as a plus!)  They will be electrified shortly.  They are working on the South side and things are moving along now that they have a good system. They anticipate being done by mid to end of next week.

Bookworms – There is a small section of Bookworms that is missing tile due to some water damaged wood.  It has obviously not affected services but if you noticed it, we hope to have that all set soon.

Plaza Level – Once the crews finish up on the third floor, they will come down to the Plaza Level and work in the space behind the iDesk.  There will be minimal service interruptions during that time, however staff that work back there will be relocated temporarily.  If you need to contact the staff, including the reserve staff, we suggest e-mailing them as the most direction option.  You can also stop at the iDesk and they can give you their temporary locations.

During this time, the Auriemma Reading Room will be closed to patrons. We know this is a popular spot but it will temporarily hold furniture and staff that needed to be moved from the office areas.  We expect it will be closed through August 7th.

Level 1 – The next area they will begin work on is the area around the main staircase on level 1.  This will be orchestrated to allow as much access to the floor during this time.

We thank you so much for your patience through this project!