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'Library for 21st Century' reopens at UB

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Following a $7 million investment, the Oscar A. Silverman Library in UB's Capen Hall reopened Wednesday. It's a library without books, but has plenty of the computers and open space that modern students have been seeking.

"This place, without books, is a place where students in this newly re-imagined campus will come together and learn, by themselves, they will learn in groups. But, they will learn as part of a great university," said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, who has been an active supporter of the university during his tenure. His theme was echoed by many of the speakers at Wednesday's reopening.

"When the students come to study in the library, they're really coming to study not just the material that's physically here but they are coming to study here," said UB President Satish Tripathi. 

"They are coming to study in groups. They are coming to study on the internet, get the stuff that they need to get. So, the whole aspect of learning has changed."

Though books aren't found in the renovated facility, most of the four million volumes located in the university's other libraries can be retrieved.

"It's technology-rich space that celebrates the mission of the university and reflects the changing landscapes of learning, scholarship and the library for the 21st Century," said Academic Affairs Senior Vice Provost Scott Weber.

Scimminger paid respect to Oscar Silverman, a distinguished scholar who ran the university libraries for decades.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.