UC Berkeley Library announces next steps for Moffitt Library’s renovation

Students walk toward Moffitt Library at sunset
Renovations will begin soon on Moffitt Library’s lower floors. (Composite photo by Jonathan Mitchell Photography/jonathanmitchell.co)

Today, the UC Berkeley Library is announcing the next steps for its renovation of Moffitt Library, the popular hub for undergraduates at the heart of campus.

The Library is streamlining and speeding up the project to more quickly address students’ most pressing needs, and to soften the impact of the far-reaching, ongoing increase in the cost of construction and materials.

The campaign to raise money for Moffitt’s renovation is now focused on final capstone gifts, which will allow UC Berkeley to more fully realize its goal of enhancing the undergraduate experience as part of the Light the Way campaign.

“We want Moffitt Library to be the best space for students as soon as possible,” said Jeff MacKie-Mason, UC Berkeley’s university librarian. “The project’s revised scope takes into account the urgency of students’ needs, and the responsibility of the Library as a steward of generous donations that will improve the undergraduate experience at Berkeley far into the future.”

The updated plans for Moffitt have a sharpened focus, emphasizing improvements in the comfort, functionality, and feel of the library’s lower levels, with special attention to the second and third floors. Among the project’s priorities are cultivating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive; reimagining spaces to support collaboration; and creating spaces for quiet, individual work. 

“In a library designed for Berkeley undergraduates, boosting both the number and variety of spaces for them to work productively alone and together is a particularly important goal of the project,” said Elizabeth Dupuis, senior associate university librarian and director of Moffitt Library. 

In 2016, Moffitt’s reimagined fourth and fifth floors, with their sleek and vibrant look and feel, opened to a warm reception. That renovation — the first since the library opened in 1970 — has proved wildly popular, with flocks of students vying for seats on the updated floors.

Construction on the library’s lower floors is tentatively expected to start by 2024. The revised scope of the renovation comes with the possibility of the fourth and fifth floors remaining open during construction.

Among the most popular libraries on campus, Moffitt puts students at the center of the learning experience, offering barrier-free access to a range of spaces and resources, and friendly help from experts and peers alike. The renovation will strengthen the library’s legacy of fulfilling students’ diverse and changing needs, and provide a space where every student can find support and belonging.

“Moffitt is a hub for undergraduate discovery,” Dupuis said. “It’s a launchpad. It’s often the first place where new students feel comfortable as they get started on their journey at Berkeley.

“It’s a place that students should feel is their own.”

The UC Berkeley Library is continuing to work with donors on capstone gifts to further improve Moffitt Library and enhance the undergraduate experience. To learn more about how you can support the project, contact the Library Development Office at 510-642-9377 or give@library.berkeley.edu.