Firestone Library Renovation

Project updates

Project description

In light of the library's importance in teaching and research at Princeton, the University has begun a complete renovation of Firestone Library.

The renovation architects, Shepley Bulfinch, are working with design partner Frederick Fisher and Partners. In December 2010, the library hosted open houses to update the campus community on the plans, which were informed by meetings with the Faculty Steering Committee on the Firestone Renovation, focus groups with library users and meetings with library staff.

Project goals

The planning for the renovation of Firestone was focused on creating a building that is well-suited to support modern library services and contemporary approaches to scholarship while also providing the proper environment for one of the world's great book and manuscript collections.

Principles guiding the renovation include:

  • Improving navigability and wayfinding throughout the building, especially in the open stacks.
  • Improving the quality of user spaces, including graduate study rooms, carrels, quiet public reading rooms and seating in the stack areas.
  • Creating more efficient shelving layouts.
  • Creating a larger and consolidated space for the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
  • Concentrating exhibit spaces on the first floor.
  • Consolidating library service points into more efficient and effective groupings.
  • Designing efficient and comfortable staff spaces.
  • Bringing the building into compliance with current building and fire codes and accessibility standards.


The renovation and reconfiguration is conceived as a long-term phased project taking more than 10 years, during which the library is remaining open and occupied. Efforts are being made to schedule the most disruptive work at times of the year when the library is not as heavily used, and to create temporary spaces to keep noise and dust to a minimum.

Read more about the project schedule on the library's renovation blog.