Balancing Act: Books, Study Seats, Physics

Two students sit in wide open room filled with new desk and new chairs, in new study space in Shields Library.
In the calm before fall quarter, Andrew Park ’17, left, and Connor Augustine, a Western Washington University alumnus, make use of Shield’s Library’s Room 193, which holds the majority of the additional 300 study seats added to the library. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • UC Davis Library makes room for Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics, in Physical Sciences and Engineering Library
  • Materials from PSEL’s second and third floors are still available elsewhere
  • 300 new study seats in Shields more than compensate for seats lost in PSEL

The UC Davis Library this week makes a loan of a different kind — providing floors 2 and 3 of the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library for conversion into office and collaboration space for the UC Davis Center for Quantum Mathematics and Physics, or QMAP.

As part of this campus-directed project, the library has ensured all materials on those floors are still available elsewhere — at Shields Library, at the UC’s Northern Regional Library Facility or online — and offset the loss of student study seats.

The two floors will be closed as of Friday (Sept. 21), clearing the way for renovations to accommodate QMAP. The entire building will also undergo seismic retrofitting, accessibility improvements and renovation of the fire suppression system — with work expected to last into December 2019.


The Physical Sciences and Engineering Library’s first floor and lower level remain open (with occasional disruptions during construction) and are unchanged, providing student study space and holding some collections.

As for the lost study space on the second and third floors, the library and campus have added 300 study seats in Shields Library — 70 more seats than were lost.

Regarding the collections previously held on the second and third floors:

  • Books with high use or published within the last 10 years — moved to Shields.
  • Journals with current subscriptions (current and most recent 10 years of issues) — moved to Shields.
  • Geology maps — moved to Shields.
  • Older books and journals — moved to UC’s Northern Regional Library Facility in Richmond (unless the books and journals would have duplicated what the facility already held; duplicate books were donated to Better World Books, an organization that provides books to libraries and literacy programs around the world, while duplicate journal issues were discarded following normal library collection management guidelines). Materials requested from the Northern Regional Library Facility are typically available on campus within two working days.
  • To find books, journals and maps that were formerly housed on the second and third floors, search the library’s online catalog.

The project is explained in detail here: background, process, relocation of materials, and construction-related noise or other impacts that may affect users of the first floor and lower level.

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