Mary Idema Pew Library construction nears completion


GVL / Sydney Lim

Jamie Wilson, Staff Writer

For many students, the Mary Idema Pew Library (MIPL) is the heart of Grand Valley State University’s campus. The MIPL offers a quiet study space for students with views of the GVSU campus and the wooded areas surrounding it. This aesthetic aspect of the library has been temporarily compromised with the glass replacement project.

The project, which began in May 2021, is scheduled to end in Jan. 2022, according to the library glass replacement site management plans. In November, the project is focused on the south side of the building, blocking the walkway between the MIPL and Kirkhof Center and preventing entering and exiting through the south entrance.

The walkway and south entrance will re-open in December, as the project shifts to the east and final side of the building for repair. Foot traffic will be re-directed south during this time. 

The MIPL has remained open throughout the entire duration of the project. However, despite the efforts of the facilities department, the construction has caused minor disruptions for students utilizing the library.

The Knowledge Market, which offers peer-to-peer collaborative services to students, is particularly affected by the construction. AJ Zylstra, a junior studying behavioral neuroscience who works in the Knowledge Market as a research consultant and receptionist said that the sound from the construction is often distracting.

“There is a constant, shrill sound because they are using multiple machines at the same time,” Zylstra said. “They start working before the library even opens and go until around 6 p.m.”

The Knowledge Market offers virtual appointments in addition to the in-person appointments and drop-ins they offer. This is beneficial for any student wanting to avoid distractions.

With finals approaching, the Knowledge Market is preparing for more consultations with students. Zylstra said they hope that construction does not deter students from seeking help. 

“Around mid-terms and finals, professors tend to assign more work, so we get an influx of students,” Zylstra said. “The construction lasts all day and there is constant background noise, but it doesn’t hurt our consultations too bad.”

Beyond the Knowledge Market, students who study independently in the library are excited for construction to end. Mya Wielgosz, a junior at GVSU, said she loves the reading room located on the third floor of the MIPL. 

“Construction intervened with my studying because of the first month of the school year, this portion of the library was completely closed off,” Wielgosz said.

The reading room isn’t the only area that has been temporarily shut down during construction. The upper balcony on the fourth floor and the courtyard accessible via the third floor are also closed. This not only limits the places where students can study, but crowds in the areas of the library where students can go. The reading room has reopened, offering some extra space for students who prefer isolated spaces to do work. 

“With construction still underway, it is constantly loud and hard to focus because of the people next to me on the outside,” Wielgosz said. “I have found ways to stay focused now, like taking study breaks and listening to music to block out the noise. I am glad that GVSU is keeping up with maintenance in the library because it’s one of the buildings known for its beauty.”

The GVSU community can look forward to construction on the library ending in Jan. 2022 as the new semester begins. In the time being, library staff and student workers in the Knowledge Market are there to help students through the final weeks of the fall semester.