SALISBURY, Md.- A new library has been in the works for a while now at Salisbury University and although the facility is still a few years away, excitement is growing. Some of the funding for the new library is now just a signature away.
Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget includes $1.9 million in planning and design money for the new facility. The budget has yet to be signed.
The university said the old library just isn't cutting it – it is out of date and doesn't have enough space or a sprinkler system. But the new one would change that.
Ask almost any Salisbury University student and they will tell you the same thing.
"This library, as you can see, is crowded," said senior Louis King.
"Small and kind of outdated," added Michael Behrle, also a senior.
"The students need way more resources here at the library," noted senior Angela Jefress.
"I think the library's a little too small," Luis Tineo told us.
Tineo, a freshman, thinks the library is a little behind-the-times and he's excited that he might have a new one to go to by the time he's a senior.
"I feel like a lot more students would dedicate more time in the library to study and get their work done if we had some cooler equipment and I think it would be really neat," Tineo told us.
King and Behrle say space is their biggest concern.
"It's not that small but I think with the Salisbury student body growing, I think more space is definitely a priority," said Behrle.
And even though they won't be students when it happens, they say they will be back.
"I definitely will take a trip back to see it. I mean, since I've been here through everything else, I figure I'd come back and see the library, see how changed it is and see how high tech it is," explained King.
Angela Jefress is graduating this year, too but she's still on board with the project.
"Obviously it would make the campus much better and for future students, it would just be really great for future students to have a better library," she said.
"Blackwell Library is deficient in study space, instructional space and space to house physical collections," said Dr. Diane Allen, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at SU. "According to the American Library Association's quantitative guidelines, the library currently provides less than one-third of the minimum recommended seating for a student body of SU's size. Space for library materials is less than one-half of the minimum recommended by the ALA," she told WBOC.
"Our library collections place SU last among its performance peers, but the library can't add to its collections because there's no more room! The existing library was built for a campus of 2,600 students. Enrollment is now 8,600," Allen explained.
Funding will be provided by the state, along with private donations. SU tells WBOC the total projected state allocation is $106 million.
"The new planned facility will be an 'Academic Commons': the intellectual and academic hub for the campus, with the library as its vital center," Allen said.
The new facility will also boast many features the current library lacks.
"SU's popular Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture will be readily accessible in the new building. Other academic services to be included are the Center for Student Achievement; the writing center; a faculty center for scholarly study; a 400-seat assembly hall for meetings, literary readings and other gatherings; and a cyber-café," Allen said.
Officials hope to have the new SU library facility up and running by the fall of 2016.