Credit: Claire Lorimor / Mustang News

On June 16, Robert E. Kennedy Library closed its doors until fall of 2025. To provide students with alternative study spaces, Cal Poly has set up temporary study locations — some of which include pre-existing education buildings, outside study tents and the old Crandall Gym. 

Parking lots C7 and H11, previously faculty lots, will hold temporary tent structures. The tents will be opened and closed every day by a staff member and will have signs where students can scan a QR code to request cleaning services for the space or leave feedback.

“Hopefully we can get some feedback on what can be done better,” senior project manager Carla Brown said. 

According to Brown, the renovation is a “joint effort between our faculty, staff and students.”

Furniture use inside the study tents is from the library. Credit: Claire Lorimor | Mustang News

The tents will have group spaces set up in tables of two or four as well as longer tables for larger study groups. All furniture used in these spaces were originally in the library. All three tents will be fully enclosed with heating and cooling and will provide an extra 700 seats of study space. 

Recreation parks and tourism junior Claire Anderson lives one and a half miles from campus. In previous years, she would spend every day at the library because she didn’t have time between classes to walk all the way home. 

But with the renovation, Anderson is concerned about decreased study time in the evening in the new tent structures. 

“You can’t hang out late at night if you’re outside in a tent,” she said.

Architectural engineering junior Frances Street visited the library almost every day last year. Street said she used it as a place to work with her peers and socialize. During the renovation, she plans on using the study spaces in the architectural engineering buildings to work with her peers.

“If it’s going to be a tent in a parking lot, I’m not sure why I would pick that over going to one of the labs in the ‘ArcE’ building or doing homework in my own house,” Street said.

Some other buildings that will be open to provide extra study accommodations include Baker Science Building (BLDG 180), Business Building (BLDG 03), English Building (BLDG 22), Fisher Science Hall (BLDG 33) and the Science Building (BLDG 52).

Those buildings will open at 7 a.m. every weekday and will close anywhere from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

The future plans for Kennedy Library contain additional classrooms for the growing student population. It will also have a Starbucks cafe on the first floor – alongside new restrooms, furniture, paint and carpet. 

The library renovation will also add a floor to the preexisting 24-hour study space, Hub24. To temporarily provide a 24-hour space, ASI is opening the University Union (UU) Chandler and San Luis Lounges for 24 hours every day. 

However, another concern for Anderson is that the UU is a freshmen-heavy space. She said, “freshmen are going to have an overwhelming study space.” The already crowded UU is going to become even more congested during the renovation. 

Neither Street nor Anderson will see the Kennedy Library for the rest of their time at Cal Poly. Street said it’s going to “knock out an amenity for people’s college experience.”

However, previous library services such as interlibrary loan pick up, research desk and copy/print will still be available to students in the old Crandall Gym during the construction. 

More information about the library renovation and temporary study spaces can be found on the Cal Poly Facilities Management and Development website

“It is difficult right now, but we’re looking forward to the ultimate outcome, which will be a building that can grow,” Brown said.