After years of preparation and design planning, Grambling State University’s digital library is expected to open winter 2021.
On Saturday, Sept. 14, community members, students, GSU President Rick Gallot and Governor John Bel Edwards gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony on the site of what will become the new digital library in several months.
The University of Louisiana System will be investing over $16 million into the digital library.
The location of the digital library will on the corner across from the Holland dorm and GSU Police Station.
The original A.C. Lewis Library will not be renovated due to flooding that occurs in the building based off foundation structure issues.
Dr. Jim Henderson, President and CEO of the University of Louisiana System, said the location was selected because it is on higher ground.
“This location was selected because it is an ideal place,” Henderson said. “It is kind of the hub center of campus and is accessible to everybody. Due to previous issues with the original library flooding, this spot just makes the most sense. It will be a real focal point for all who come to Grambling.”
Edwards expressed his excitement that Grambling State will be the first university in Louisiana and first HBCU with a digital library.
“President Gallot informed me every-time it rains the library has problems with flooding,” Edwards said. “Over the years the damage built up. I realized we have to do something about it. I’m excited to break ground as this will be the first digital library at any university in Louisiana. I am pleased to be able to work with the legislature on this project.”
The library will include 17,000 square feet dedicated to study space, more than 500 computers and room for over 200,000 physical resources such as books, video and microfilm.
“I look forward to coming back here in about a year and cutting a ribbon before walking into an air-conditioned digital library,” Edwards said. “I have every expectation in doing so as your Governor.”
66th Miss Grambling, Rickinize Johnikin is said that she is looking forward to the impact the library will have on future students.
“I am very pleased that future members of our student body will have a fully equipped modern library which will assist them in pursuit of academic excellence,” Johnikin said. “However, I am a little bit sad that I will not be able to use the library because I am graduating in May 2020.”
Gallot said the new library will continue to bring innovation to Grambling State.
“This celebration is more than brick and mortar. I am beyond excited about the impact it will have on our students and generations to come,” Gallot said. “This will be the first of its kind among Historically Black Colleges and Universities and one of the premier education and technology facilities in our region.”