UCB Libraries


Norlin Library Construction

Norlin Sundial Plaza
The renovated Norlin Commons, Research Center, Graduate Study Suite and Sundial Plaza are now open. Norlin Library: Text & Texture (pdf)


East Exterior: Norlin Sundial Plaza

Construction: June - October 2009. Status: Completed and open.


Extensive renovations on the Norlin Sundial Plaza -- include major electrical, masonry and plumbing work. The plaza includes a fountain around the Sundial, high and low seating, wireless connectivity, perimeter lighting, and is finished with pavers inset with quotations engraved in sandstone.

First Floor: Norlin Commons (15,050 square feet)

Construction: January - July 2009. Status: Completed and open.


Norlin CommonsThe Norlin Commons is now open for use.


The Commons is a joint project of the University Libraries and Information Technology Services. The renovation aims to create a learning library that integrates technology in a flexible innovative design. The blending of ITS and the libraries will give students seamless access to information sources and productivity tools. Through the merging of content, technology, and services the new space will enable the full continuum of student learning and discovery. The renovated space greatly expands student study areas.


The Norlin Commons opened for service on July 6, 2009. Summer hours will parallel those of Norlin Library. This will be open 24 hours a day.


Flexible work spaces includes:

First Floor: East Lobby Firewall

Construction: August - September 2009. Status: Completed and open.


A fire barrier has been erected in the east lobby of Norlin Library. This project was separate from, but concurrent with, other construction in Norlin Library.

Second Floor: Research Services (7,770 square feet)

Construction: May 2008 - January 2009. Status: Completed and open.


The second floor east-central section has been reconfigured into a Research Center including the main research desk, reference collection, and periodical collection. The Research Center also houses the East Asian Collection. The Research Center includes research consultation rooms and new instruction classrooms. This area opened for service on January 20, 2009.


Other features of the Research Center include:

  • Consolidated service point for research assistance
  • Photocopiers, printers, scanners, microfilm readers
  • Library instruction classrooms
  • Research consultation rooms
  • Individual and group spaces

Third Floor: Graduate Suite (Study Room)

Construction: May - October 2009. Status: Completed and open.


The present Mac Lab has been integrated into the first floor Norlin Commons. The former lab space is reconfigured and transformed into a study suite for graduate students. Grad students now have access to this space as of October 2009.


The combination of the Norlin Commons, Research Center, and Graduate Suite will work to meet the research and information needs of the campus community in a new revitalized library, while still celebrating the heritage of the building.


Campus Partners Architects, Consultants, & Construction Co.

View more details about Norlin's Architectural Record

19 August 2009


The installation of pavers (bricks) is nearly complete.  A small portion on the west side of the plaza will be installed after the fountain pump infrastructure is complete.  The flagstones with the engraved quotes are nearly ready.  Once the placements are marked, pavers will be removed so the flagstones can be set.  This will probably happen early next week.  New trees should also be planted in the plaza today.

The concrete moat surrounding the Sundial is the reservoir for the water feature.  Later this week, "Geoblock" will be installed on top of the gravel surrounding the reservoir.  The Geoblock surface will then be covered with sod.


The stonemason continues to work on installing the stone wall at the base of the plaza perimeter.  New capstones for perimeter seating are on order but probably will not be installed before the end of next week.


The plaza furniture was delivered to the site this morning.  The contractor will be working on placement and installation over the next few days.

Bollards will also be installed at the plaza entrances to prevent vehicle traffic.

The water feature is the one item that is behind schedule.  Once the pump arrives, an underground vault needs to be installed.  This work will happen in mid- to late-September.  Unfortunately this delay means that the southwest entrance to the plaza will remain closed.  We expect all other entrances to the plaza, including the stairs from Ketchum, to be open soon.


6 July 2009


The Norlin Commons is now open.


2 April 2009


Steady progress is being made in the Commons construction.


Stone work is complete at the new entrance and the scaffolding has been removed.


In the Commons itself, nearly all of the drywall work is complete and the contractor is starting to paint. Storefront glass partitions and doors are starting to arrive and some carpet has been installed.


The Laughing Goat is also starting to schedule installation of the cafe counter and fixtures for mid-May.


We have not received a date by which we can occupy the Commons but it is likely to be sometime in May.


The Mac Lab (N310) will CLOSE at the end of the day on Friday, May 8 (Graduation Day). We expect ITS to remove computers and furniture from that space the week of May 11. Work will likely start on the 3rd floor then on Monday May 18. There may be some minor fluctuation of these dates but the good news is that the Mac Lab will stay open through the end of the semester and we should not have major moves or changes during the Finals period.


In related news, this week Facilities held the pre-bid meeting with contractors who intend to bid on the Sundial Plaza renovation. This work is still scheduled to go ahead starting sometime in May


26 February 2009
Progress on the building/remodeling:  We are nearly 60% completed with the entire project. An official opening will take place after the Plaza construction is completed; after the Laughing Goat café is open; after services are established in the new space; after the refinished tables have been moved into the 2nd floor, etc. Work on the Plaza is expected to begin in Mid-May, and will probably take most of the summer.


20 January 2009

The first component of Norlin renovation is open! The Research Center on Norlin's second floor opened to the public today.Work on the Norlin Commons is underway!


17 December 2008

The Procurement Service Center completed our contract with Laughing Goat Coffeehouse to serve as the vendor providing café services in the new Norlin Commons. Laughing Goat, a locally-owned coffeehouse located at 17th & Pearl in downtown Boulder, offers fair trade, organic, and locally-produced products as much as possible. Early in the new year, we will begin working with Laughing Goat, Facilities, and our architect to complete design and integration of the café facility in the Commons.


15 December 2008
Research & Information Services, Periodicals and the East Asian collections will occupy the newly renovated second research area on Norlin's second floor. At this time, we anticipate moving into the space in time for the opening of Spring 2009. The space vacated by Research & Instruction Services on the first floor will then be converted for the new Norlin Commons.


15 October 2008
Power will be out THIS FRI evening, Oct 17, and most of SAT, Oct 18, on Norlin's SECOND and THIRD FLOORS, due to construction. Lights will remain on during this time; however, students will not be able to plug in laptops, or any other electrical appliances. There will be no phone service to the area. Computer labs should not be affected. Computers in offices will also be unavailable. Wireless access may be out as well. Other unexpected outages are also possible during this time. Government Publications, Science, and study rooms, printers and card machines in those areas will be affected. The Government Publications reference desk will be closed Saturday. Special Collections will not be affected. There are no fire or safety issues. Thank you for your patience as we continue to make improvements to your library!


17 September 2008
2nd Floor: Work is proceeding on schedule. We anticipate moving Research & Instruction and Periodicals into the renovated space in late-November. The area vacated by Research & Instruction will be converted into the Norlin Commons -- a 24/7 study area.


16 July 2008
2nd Floor: Demolition work continues in the former Periodicals Room and semi-permanent dust walls are under construction now around the former Study Area.
4th Floor: Work will likely start on the 4th floor on Thursday July 17. Administrative Services is prepared for the work to begin.


7 July 2008
The White Construction Group has started demolition in the former Periodicals Room. The staging area in the plaza should go up very soon.


11 June 2008
The construction contract was signed June 10. The notice to proceed has been issued. Our contractor is the White Construction Group. They are based in Castle Rock and have done other renovation projects on campus. The pre-construction meeting was held on Monday, June 9. The purpose of this meeting was primarily to review Facilities' standard procedures and guidelines related to construction on campus. Weekly campus construction progress meetings are scheduled and we have also scheduled weekly meetings of the Norlin Construction Committee. White Construction will draft a schedule. The construction committees will review and dates will be shared when we have more information.

Service Relocations

Research & Information, Periodicals Collection and the East Asian Collection have moved to Norlin's second floor Research Center.


Interlibrary Loan services are available at the Circulation Desk.


The Writing Center has moved to the Norlin Commons (E111), near the east entrance of Norlin Library. For information about appointments, hours, and services visit the The Writing Center web site.


Testing and Assessment has moved to E203.


Self-service Copiers

Norlin Library Program Plan

The planning document on which the project was originally based. Many of the concepts and objectives for the revitalized Norlin Library are drawn from this document; however, some of the specific details have shifted.

Presentation -- Models of Norlin Commons

A presentation by Caroline Sinkinson and Jennifer Knievel that demonstrates Learning Commons models around the country. And describes our goals and vision for this project. (slideshare)

Presentation -- So it Begins . . .

A presentation by Caroline Sinkinson and Jennifer Knievel that demonstrates the current plans with images from other libraries representing furniture, concepts, and models.

More examples of other Learning Commons.

Press Coverage

CU Library Gets Coffee Shop, All-night Study Lounge

Colorado Daily, July 12, 2009


CU-Library Gets All Night Study Lounge
Daily Camera, July 12, 2009


Norlin Library: Under Construction
Big changes mean added stress during finals

NewsTeam Boulder, December 2, 2008


Did You Know? Ink spot Closing

Inside CU, July 15, 2008


Modernizing Norlin: A library for the 21st century

Daily Camera, June 7, 2008


Norlin Commons: Innovative Learning Spaces

Oneonone/Information Technology Services, Spring 2008, p. 2


Norlin revitalized: Library will be renovated again this summer
Campus Press, March 20, 2008

Student Norlin Commons, Cybercafe in First Phase
Silver and Gold, February 28, 2008

Round the Clock Studying
Campus Press, November 30, 2007

Coffee shops changing libraries
Daily Camera, November 4, 2007

Campus Communications

Periodicals Room Project Update
Administrative E-Memo, February 13, 2008


Current Library Public Services Transition
Administrative E-Memo, October 22, 2007



Norlin Commons Floorplan


Drawings & Plans

View the construction plans and drawings in the slideshow below. Drawings and plans are provided by H+L Architects. Check back soon! Scroll down further to view historical photos of Norlin's architectural record. And for day to day photos of the construction progress visit the construction flickr album.


Historical Overview

View images of construction projects from Norlin's past. These images have been borrowed from Scott Seaman's presentation, Norlin's Architectural History. View his complete presentation with a historical overview of images displayed here. The presentation is best viewed in Internet Explorer.