“Some day we’ll have all of our science books in one place…” – Donna Jacobs, Science Librarian
In 1998, Frick Hall, through a grant from the Timken Science Foundation, was repurposed back to its original use as a library, this time dedicated to housing the entire science collection. The major creative inspiration for the project came from a postcard that pictured the original reading room. The Timken Science Library was the beginning of the College of Wooster embracing its own identity through invoking its past. By restoring the library to instill the feeling of the original 1900 reading room, the College had decided that it no longer needed to imitate anyone else but itself.
The renovated reading room, accomplishes the task of balancing the past and present perfectly by blending original and traditional elements with upgrades using new materials. The original frieze, with the names of famous scholars of the western canon, large dark wood desks, traditional light fixtures, faux marble columns, and globe centerpiece all bear reference to the original library. The remodel used lighter shades of wood to make the new additions stand out in contrast to the older features. The new mezzanine carrel lofts, compact shelving, staircases of steel and glass, and the power and data outlets on the tables, work in harmony with the traditional elements. The end result is a modern library seeped in the tradition of Wooster’s history, which stands as a prestigious landmark on campus imparting the feelings of longevity and continuity. Damon Hickey, the director of libraries when the restoration occurred, remarked that he was, “Struck by the connection the new library [Timken] provides between the students of today and tomorrow and the Wooster students who used it as a library up to 1962. The gap has been bridged.”1 Indeed, the connection between Wooster’s present and past is ever apparent in Frick Hall.