As VCU’s main library refills with students after two years of renovations, the university’s alumni are being asked to help outfit it.
The Cabell Foundation, a philanthropic group that gives grants for charitable causes, has awarded a $1 million challenge grant to VCU Libraries, which will use the money primarily to furnish and equip James Branch Cabell Library.
The foundation was created by Maude Morgan Cabell and Robert G. Cabell III, a brother of the author for whom the library is named.
To meet the grant’s challenge of raising $1 million in new gifts and pledges by June 30, 2017, the Friends of VCU Libraries is asking alumni and faculty, as well as the greater Richmond community, to make a gift to VCU Libraries through the course of 2016.
Half of the money raised through the campaign will be used to support a fund to outfit the library with furnishings and equipment beyond what’s provided by the state, according to a release last month. The rest will be used to create an endowment for updating technology and replacing furniture.
VCU is wrapping up a $50 million renovation and expansion of the library that started in December 2013. The first two floors were reopened in November, and work on the third and fourth floors continued through December and was set to be complete in time for spring semester.
The state-funded project added 93,000 square feet of new space to the building for a new total size of 333,000 square feet. An additional 63,000 square feet of existing space was renovated as part of the project.
Ninety percent of the new space is devoted to student and researcher use, as opposed to space for books or staff offices, according to the release. The library, located in the heart of Monroe Campus, serves more than 2 million people per year.
In addition to the challenge grant, a $6 million private fundraising campaign is underway to supplement state funds that paid for construction related to the project.