William S. and John M. Milne Library (SUNY Geneseo photo/Keith Walters '11)
Thanks to funding from the State University of New York’s Capital Program, which is financed by the State of New York, SUNY Geneseo is moving forward with a $35 million renovation of the William S. and John M. Milne Library. The fully renovated library is expected to open during the 2024–25 academic year.
The current plan includes temporarily relocating the library to its former home in Fraser Hall, where it will serve as the hub for library services, materials, and personnel.
Following are answers to some frequently asked questions. For more information, visit the Milne Library Project, where updates are posted as they become available.
Milne Library Renovation FAQs
How can a college close its library for four years?
We are closing the building, but library services, materials, and personnel will be available during that time. The current plan is to offer hybrid library services that will include quiet study spaces and food offerings with the goal of turning Fraser Hall (where the library was formerly housed) into a library complex.
Why is the project going to take so long?
This project is more than just a remodel—it’s a full renovation. It also has to begin with the asbestos remediation (visit Milne Library Project for the details), which includes cleaning and removing every item in the library. At the same time the remediation is taking place, the campus will move forward on the steps that precede the actual renovation: campus engagement and input from students, project conceptualization, architectural design, reviews and approvals, and updates to underground infrastructure and utilities. The actual building renovation itself will take less than four years—it’s the additional aspects to our project that increase the timeline.
Why are you doing the renovation now? Can you reopen the library temporarily while you plan the renovation?
There are two projects: the asbestos remediation and the library renovation. As part of the remediation, books, furniture, carpeting, etc., will be removed from the library, making the space unusable for students. The pragmatic and fiscally responsible course of action is to move immediately into the renovation, which was already scheduled for two years from now. To remediate the asbestos, reopen the library, then close it again to renovate would have been inefficient and costly and would have ultimately resulted in the library being closed for a longer period of time. The State University Construction Fund has prioritized funding so that Geneseo can move ahead with the renovation now and complete the projects as quickly and efficiently as possible.