March 02, 2018

Reimagining the library

Inside a key campaign initiative

An enhanced OWHL will emerge on campus thanks to the Knowledge & Goodness campaign, and the Andover experience will be forever transformed.

With the landmark renovation of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, the Academy will move from a structure designed simply to store content to one thoughtfully reimagined to empower ideas and agency.

It’s a seismic shift, and while the exterior footprint of the library will remain static, the interior will be remodeled from floor to ceiling. “We want to create an environment where students and faculty can explore advanced concepts and collaborate as they set them in motion,” says Michael J. Barker, director of Academy research, information, and library services. “We will forge a library where shared, adaptable spaces enhance the connected learning process, and we will leverage some of the Academy’s greatest resources to further our commitment to academic excellence.”

Through the redesign, Andover’s Archives and Special Collections—including the Knafel Map Collection—will enjoy a prominent new home on the first floor of the OWHL, and the Tang Institute will occupy a special suite on the second floor.

Such moves will better enable faculty to introduce primary sources and other rare artifacts into classroom discussions and will inspire greater collaboration on the research projects that flow from the Tang’s thought laboratory. Toward that end, classroom space in the OWHL will increase, and 11 new study spaces will be integrated throughout the library.



The Garver Room will remain a quiet study area. Other heritage spaces will be carefully repurposed while retaining their original character. The Dole Room, for instance, will become a flexible classroom while the Freeman Room will be adapted for debates, poetry slams, and other interactive gatherings. 



On the lower level, the “Nest” will double in size. Founded in 2015, this lively makerspace fosters collaborative learning and houses a laser cutter, 3-D printers, virtual reality equipment, and other resources. Approximately 50 courses, from computer science to history, currently hold sessions in the Nest. The renovation will allow more instructors to leverage this locale, which will also contain new and specialized space for Andover’s burgeoning robotics initiatives.

The makerspace will double in size to promote greater creativity and collaboration.

“Our students and faculty deserve the very best resources possible, and the reimagined OHWL will give them every opportunity to partner together and learn in an integrated, mindful way,” says Head of School John G. Palfrey, P’21, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google. “We are creating a new and exciting ecosystem on campus.”

The OWHL hasn’t been renovated since 1987—before the Internet and a digitally connected world—and Knowledge & Goodness campaign investments in this area are a critical priority. Once construction funding is achieved, the renovation will last 15 months, spread over two summers and one full academic year.

All interested in investing in this timely campaign project may visit www.andover.edu/OWHLsupport or contact Nicole Cherubini, director of development, at 978-749-4288 or ncherubini@andover.edu.

We are creating a new and exciting ecosystem on campus.

John Palfrey, P’21 Head of School

The Tang Institute will be integrated into the second floor of the OWHL.

OWHL: The Next Chapter

  • 150 additional student seats
  • An increase from 1 to 12 group study spaces
  • 2X the makerspace size
  • Centralized Archives and Special Collections, featuring the Knafel Map Collection
  • Integrated Tang Institute
  • Preserved heritage spaces, including the Garver, Dole, and Freeman rooms
  • Reconfigured stacks
  • Updated building systems with climate control



Categories: Philanthropy

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