Refreshment and Renewal for a Library That Never Sleeps

Over the years, The Gleason Library has proudly stood as a rich academic resource as well as a buzzing hub for “Yellowjackets” to meet, study, socialize, and even grab a quick meal in between classes.

As the only facility on the University of Rochester’s River Campus offering convenient, 24/7 access, the building stays open to welcome and support a diverse community of more than 3,000 faculty, 12,000 students and 30,000 staff.

Having never closed in over 13 years, this steadfast campus staple had begun to show visible signs of wear and tear. Adding to concerns, facility technology was becoming outdated, and a growing campus population was sparking the need for additional space.

CPL was engaged to develop an effective renewal plan—one that would modernize this beloved campus building and enhance the student experience.

Our design process was driven by intense collaboration with the University’s Dean of Libraries, other library leadership and campus users. This included an engaging project visioning forum, all-inclusive meetings, detailed 3D modeling, and even a furniture fair, all to help develop a dynamic, customized renovation plan.

CPL National Higher Education Practice Leader, Mike Mistriner, AIA, explained, “We understand how critical these communal spaces are to campus life. By working closely with the University, we made sure the school’s mission was fully supported through our designs, which included the promotion of greater inclusivity, self-discovery and a higher-level of learning.”

From the start, the University expressed a desire for their library space to become a magnetic learning destination. In other words, instead of being an archive of books, they wanted to capitalize on opportunities to create openness and transparency to invite student collaboration and encourage creative exploration.

To accomplish this, the team selected modular furniture throughout the library to enable the easy manipulation and transformation of spaces within. Dedicated gathering areas for brain-storm sessions and social interactions were also incorporated as were spaces accommodating specific singular uses, such as dedicated quiet spots and pods for video calls.

Additionally, advanced technology and other support services were included, and a refreshed, modern look-and-feel was established with brighter, more contemporary finishes and furnishings.

A lockstep, team approach delivered the University of Rochester’s hard-working Gleason Library an exciting renewal. For students, “the library that never sleeps” now offers them an enhanced, modernized 24-hour destination, sure to enrich minds, nourish individual growth, and promote round-the-clock pride for years to come.


Helen works closely with project managers and Principals in Georgia and the Carolinas on regional marketing efforts. With nearly 20 years of marketing experience in the A/E/C industry, she is responsible for preparing written responses to RFPs/RFQs and facilitating business development efforts. Helen is also an active member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).

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