Destination: Hayden

Library to undergo renovation in 2020

In January, the MIT Libraries announced plans to renovate Hayden Library next year, with a reopening slated for the fall term of 2020. The project developed from recommendations by the MIT Task Force on the Future of Libraries, which stressed the importance of “welcoming and inclusive spaces for discovery and scholarship,” as well as the need to address building renewal needs and code updates.

“Hayden has been a special place for so many MIT students, faculty, and alumni,” says Chris Bourg. “But the world has changed substantially since the library was first built, along with the ways that people discover, consume, create, and share knowledge. The Libraries want to be responsive to these changes and incorporate these new realities into physical library space.”

MIT has engaged Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA) to work with the Institute to plan for the next version of Hayden, and the project is currently in the design phase. The areas planned for renovation include the first and second floors. Design goals include creating both vibrant, interactive spaces as well as quiet zones, with specific improvements including:

  • Significant expansion of 24/7 study space
  • A café
  • Greater variety of study spaces—for both individual and group work, with both quiet and conversation zones and varied seating styles
  • Flexible teaching and event space

“We’ve gathered input from the MIT community over the last several years about what they want from library spaces,” says Tracy Gabridge ‘88, deputy director of MIT Libraries. “This project aims to meet those diverse needs—from a place to grab coffee and run into friends to a spot to work together with others, all while having space for quiet study and reflection.”

The project kicked off with an event at Killian Hall on February 13, where Bourg presented the Libraries’ vision for its spaces, outlined the design process, and answered questions from the community. The design phase has also included community feedback through a series of workshops planned by KVA in March and April. While the design for the library is still taking shape, Bourg is confident the renovated spaces will strengthen Hayden’s role in bringing people together: “We envision the new Hayden Library as a destination on campus, a place that is open, welcoming, and that invites community members to make connections between  ideas, collections, and each other.”


Hayden Renovation at a Glance









  • Create a destination on campus for faculty, students, and staff—an intellectual town square
  • Support a variety of learning and research styles and welcome a greater diversity of users
  • Communicate the creative possibilities in our spaces and invite our community to “hack the library”