Library Refresh

Library seating and artistic archival wall

Library seating and artistic archival wall, 2023

What Happened?

The NSF NCAR Library & Archives is excited to announce an Open House to celebrate the 2020-2024 ML Library Refresh! Please join us on April 18, from 2-4pm and explore the refreshed library spaces. 

The updated ML Library includes all the great resources you were previously used to, as well as a new look and expanded functional spaces. These improvements include:

  • Expanded collaborative meeting areas and individual study areas, including new tables, laptop bars, and booth-like seating.
  • An Archives Research Center. For the first time staff and external researchers have space to comfortably study the extensive collections of the NCAR Archives, request digital versions, make copies, and consult with the archivist on transferring material to the Archives.
  • An historical display about Walter Orr Roberts and I.M. Pei, as well as increased capacity for rotating exhibits of photographs and artifacts from NCAR|UCAR history to engage staff and public visitors.
  • More space. We moved some lower-use materials into storage, and bookshelves were moved, shortened, or removed to make dynamic and open spaces available in the library. Materials now in storage are still available for check-out by request.
  • New carpet and paint throughout the area.
  • Workspaces with personal charging stations.
  • Fully renovated upstairs carrels, including new furniture.
  • Relocated formerly dispersed archival collections to a single climate-controlled location in ML facility, with UV-protection and durable movable storage shelving.


Library carrel with soft seating and decorative tiles

Corner carrel, 2024

Why refresh the library?

In 2018 and 2019, we conducted an extensive information-gathering effort for our libraries on all campuses, through a survey, focus groups, and a formal UCAR-wide committee effort called the Library Environment Analysis and Redesign for NCAR (LEARN) Committee. We reviewed the feedback and determined how to make the most strategic investments, starting in the ML Library space. The ML Library remained largely unchanged since 1967, and it had the most immediate need for updating to a modern, user-friendly, and efficient space. We are currently in the early stages of exploring improvements to the Foothills Library facility. At this time, the Library facilities at Center Green is not set for renovation.

Who does this serve?

Everyone! UCAR/UCP and NSF NCAR staff, visitors, and researchers from all over the world. We are very enthused to share this reconfigured library, where you will find more space to collaborate with colleagues, contemplate, and consult with archival and librarian expertise, while retaining access to current and historical research important to our Earth system sciences community.

The NSF NCAR Library at the Mesa Lab is open to the public and we are excited to share the space with everyone who comes to our facility.


High-density storage shelving with spinning handles

Archival storage, 2024

How were decisions made?

The Library conducted surveys, focus groups, and worked with the Library Environment Analysis and Redesign for NCAR (LEARN) committee to determine patron preferences and interests. Additionally, Library staff visited libraries with a similar size and focus, such as the University of Denver’s Anderson Academic Commons and NASA Goddard’s Library, to study their design and scientific resources.

What happened to materials that are no longer relevant?

Non-recyclable items had to be discarded, but library staff made efforts to ensure that other libraries weren’t interested in acquiring our deaccessioned materials. Additionally, Facilities Management always makes sure to recycle materials whenever possible.

Thank you!

Improving the ML Library was a collective effort. Many thanks to people within Maintenance, Logistics, Sustainability and Health, Environment & Safety Services for their hard work. This undertaking would also not have been possible without the support of the NSF NCAR Directorate Office, Facilities Management & Operations, and UCAR Operations leadership.