Library Space

As the academic hub of the university, library space must adapt to the evolving ways in which faculty and students work, study and conduct research today.

  • Digital technology is enabling new ways of learning and engaging with information that complement the library’s print materials.
  • The student body has grown by 50 percent since the last major renovation of Shields.
  • There is a shortage of available study spaces on campus equipped with the technology students need. With 350,000 square feet of space at Shields alone, the library has a unique opportunity to meet that need.
  • Collaboration across disciplines, and between faculty and students, is increasingly important in academic life. As a neutral space at the crossroads of campus, the library can provide a place for that collaboration to happen.

Through engagement with members of the campus community — including students, faculty, researchers, clinicians, and campus leadership — the library has identified three overarching priorities to address those needs:

  1. Create a more welcoming, versatile and contemporary environment for students.
  2. Provide a central hub for campus resources focused on student academic success.
  3. Support faculty and other researchers interacting with information in new ways.

Students make up 93% of the library’s visitors, so creating more modern, comfortable and technologically functional study spaces is a top priority.

Because we want today’s students to benefit, too, we’re starting to make changes now — even while longer term plans are still underway.

Study Oasis
Photo by Hector Villicana/UC Davis Library

One side of the Sally Porter Reading Room, adjacent to the Main Reading Room on the second floor of Shields, was refurbished with comfortable new seating, thanks to challenges from the Library Board and Golden 1 Credit Union and contributions from individual donors on UC Davis Give Day 2017.

Group Study Room Renovations
Photo by Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

Students need access to technology when they’re working together on projects. Thanks to a generous donation from Library Board Chair Mike Gilson and his wife Cathy Blake, we have installed large, wall-mounted screens that can be connected to students’ laptops (and comfortable, modern furniture) in the two Group Study Rooms that open off the Sally Porter Reading Room.

The Class of 2020 is raising funds to create a third modern group study room, on the first floor of Shields, as their senior class gift

Modern Study Space
Photo by Pattie Chen/UC Davis Library

In time for Fall Quarter 2018, the library refurbished a large study space on the first floor of Shields Library with new furniture and plentiful outlets (always at the top of our students’ wish list for library study space improvements!) The new-and-improved space is almost always packed.

Multipurpose Academic Space

Floor plan for Shields 167, a new lecture and multipurpose room coming Summer 2019.

Shields Room 167, formerly the library’s course reserves area, was renovated in partnership with Undergraduate Education in 2019. Shields 167 now serves as a general assignment classroom Monday through Friday from 8:00AM and 5:00PM. When the room is not being used for classes, it serves as additional study space for students. Occasionally, the room is also used for meetings and events hosted by the library.

Shields After Dark

The library keeps some of our most popular study spaces at Shields Library open 24 hours a day during finals week — an initiative we first piloted in 2017. As reported in The California Aggie, “opening more study spaces — and keeping them open for longer hours — has been a long-standing request of the UC Davis student body.”

To learn more about how you can support the UC Davis Library, including space naming opportunities, please contact

If you have questions about library space plans or ideas you would like to share, please email