Snell Library Renovation

Steps Toward Sustainability with Snell Library’s Solar Panels

Dean of the Library Dan Cohen poses next to a solar panel on the Snell Library Quad
Dean of the Library Dan Cohen flips the switch to solar electricity in a ceremony on April 2, 2024.

Northeastern University’s commitment to sustainability was evident at Snell Library on April 2, as the university held a ceremony to unveil the new solar panels installed on the library’s roof as part of the building’s ongoing renovations.

“Libraries have long been associated with light, as places that light up our world. Today, the Northeastern University Library continues this tradition by holding resources and expert staff members that shine light on learning and research,” Dean of the Library Dan Cohen said at the event. “So it’s nice that today we are able to make this association between the library and light literal in addition to metaphorical. We’re thrilled that Snell Library can capture and distribute light in a different way, and that this light will help our campus and our environment.”

The panels will be providing 157.8kWp DC of power to Snell Library and will save around 13,600 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

The project was led by Northeastern’s Planning, Real Estate, and Facilities (PREF) Division, and the panels’ installation was completed by Ameresco, a leading renewable energy integrator. The undertaking also involved efforts by the Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub, NU Trades, and more.

Infographic with statistics on the sustainability of Snell Library's solar panels

Installing rooftop solar panels on an urban campus is a complicated process with multiple considerations to manage. Limited space and logistical complications meant that the project took nearly a year to plan and execute. But Snell Library proved the perfect location for the panels, with its height, flat roof, and minimal shading, and the ongoing renovations to help ensure a seamless integration to the campus’ electrical grid.

Four workers in construction gear pose with a solar panel on the roof of Snell Library
Some of the team of workers installing solar panels on Snell Library’s roof.

“My hope going forward is that all new buildings are going to be designed to hold solar panels so that they’re maximizing as they go,” said Jacob Glickel, Director of Sustainability Operations for PREF.

The Northeastern University Library is excited to play such an important role in Northeastern’s progression toward sustainability.

For more information about the project, visit the PREF website.

Snell Library Reopens Renovated 4th Floor; 3rd Floor Closes

A major stage was completed in the Snell Library Renovation Project on Monday, Nov. 13, when the brand new fourth floor was opened for Northeastern University community use.

Students using the renovated 4th floor of Snell Library
Students study on the newly renovated 4th floor of Snell Library on Nov. 13, 2023.
Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
Students study in the renovated 4th floor of Snell Library

The floor, which closed in January, now features a variety of study spaces and furniture styles to appeal to all types of users. It also includes:

  • reservable group and individual study rooms
  • a large glass-walled silent study space
  • individual soundproof pods for phone or video calls

Acoustic ceiling panels have been added to improve the noise levels and many pieces of furniture are embedded with outlets, both features that have been regularly requested by student users.

With the completion of the fourth floor, renovation work has now moved to the 3rd floor, which closed on Nov. 13. When it reopens, that floor will contain:

  • reservable group and individual study rooms
  • an enhanced graduate study room
  • a digital scholarship research hub
  • expanded research data consultation space
  • additional study space
A student sits behind a laptop wearing headphones on the newly renovated 4th floor of Snell Library

Work on the third floor is expected to be completed in summer 2024. In the meantime, staff offices previously located on that floor, including the Dean of the Library suite, have been moved to the second floor.

The next stage of the renovation project is expected to be completed in the coming days, as work is just finishing up on that lower (basement) level. Stay tuned here or visit the Snell Library Renovation page for the latest information.

Snell Library Renovation Moves to First Floor

A large white tarp covers a section of the first floor of Snell Library, where the temporary entrance will be created.
The temporary entrance to Snell Library will be in use beginning July 17.

Work has begun on the first floor of Snell Library as part of the building-wide renovation project. Construction will take place in stages in order to cause as little disruption to building usage as possible.

The first stage will include work on the main entrance. Because of this, a temporary entrance will be created on the west side of the building, through the Snell Library Classrooms entrance. Work is currently being done to fully transition all traffic into the building through that door.

As a result, Snell Library will be closed on Friday, July 14, at 9 p.m. and will reopen Monday, July 17, at 9 a.m.

When the library reopens on July 17, some services and departments will be relocated or otherwise affected:

  • The Campus Coffee and Tea Café will be closed for the remainder of the work.
  • The Research Help Desk for drop-in reference assistance will be relocated to the main Help & Information Desk on the first floor.
  • The Archives & Special Collections Reading Room will be relocated to the second floor, next to the Digital Scholarship Commons.
  • The Hub of recreational reading material will be temporarily closed. However, all physical library books, including those featured in the Hub, remain available on request.
  • CoLabs A-G will be unavailable.
  • The Writing Center will be unavailable. Visit their website for more information about available services and locations.

Please visit our Snell Library Renovation page for more information about the renovation project and for more construction updates.

Alternate study spaces are available around campus. Please visit Northeastern University Spaces to find other locations.

We thank you for your patience as we continue to renew Snell Library.

Snell Library Renovation Continues; 4th Floor Closed

Work on the Snell Library renovation continued in earnest over the winter break. With construction moving to the 4th floor, furniture was removed from that area and reorganize on the 3rd floor. Temporary walls were also installed on the 3rd floor to cut down on construction noises throughout the building.

While work is being completed on the 4th floor, please note that that level will be closed for the spring 2023 semester. Library users should relocate to the first three floors of the library or visit the Northeastern University Spaces page to find other suitable areas on the Boston campus. The Curry Student Center, Marino Center, 300 Mass. Ave, and most academic buildings have open seating available for study purposes.

The basement level also remains closed for the semester.

The Snell Library renovation project is a top-to-bottom redesign that will provide:

Improved study space, including:

  • a major increase in seating to accommodate both quiet and group study
  • bookable group study rooms on several floors
  • single-person pods for phone and video calls
  • new study space on the lower level
  • a larger, enhanced graduate study room
  • improved acoustic dampening throughout the building

Creative and collaborative opportunities, such as:

  • an expanded creative and design production zone on the 2nd floor
  • a research-focused area that brings together advanced digital scholarship projects from across the university
  • a new café and large event space open to the public on the 1st floor

Improved access to our collections and services, including:

  • more space to highlight our unique archives and special collections
  • on-site access to high-use books
  • easier access to library and information technology services

Compelling views, inside and out:

  • welcoming, light-filled areas with panoramas of the campus
  • a glass-enclosed central staircase showcasing newly opened areas of the library
  • a wrap-around glass façade on the 1st floor with new, larger entrances

Please follow us on Instagram and Twitter or visit our website for up-to-date construction and renovation news.

Snell Library Begins Renovation Process

The Snell Library renovation project has begun!

This top-to-bottom renovation of our building, which opened in 1990, will create welcoming and vibrant new spaces for studying and collaborating, with greatly improved areas for research, services, collections, and other resources.

The first phase of the renovation project began on May 16 with the main stairwell and elevators. Due to the construction, the following changes to building usage have been made:

  • There is no access to the main stairwell and elevators. Visitors to the library can use the stairwell and elevator to the left of the entrance, all the way around the help desk and near the restrooms.
  • Research Data Services, located on the 2nd floor, will have a temporary access door installed.
  • The Office of the Dean’s Suite, located on the 3rd floor, can be accessed through the Office of Communications near Room 301.
  • The Graduate Reading Room will be closed until the renovations on the 4th floor are completed.
  • Archives and Special Collections, located in the basement, are closed as of May 31. Their reading room will be temporarily located in the Alumni Reading Room on the 1st floor.

Stay tuned for construction updates and more information about this exciting renovation project!