Five College Library Annex Building Information


The Annex currently houses 1.2 million items of the circulating collection of the Smith College library while the main Neilson Library at the college undergoes renovations according to a design by Maya Lin.  The renovated library will open in Fall 2020.  Meanwhile the circulating collection and about a dozen technical services staff members have temporary quarters at the Annex, 13 minutes away from campus.  The Annex also holds 200,000 items of the 800,000 in the Five College Library Repository Collection (FCLRC) and about 100,000 University Archives and Special Collections items for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

For further information about the FCLRC, including how to access materials, please see the Five College Library Repository Collection page located here

Construction Completed

May 25, 2017

The project was completed ahead of schedule and well under budget.

The "grand opening" and "ribbon cutting ceremony" for the Five College Library Annex was held on Friday, May 26, at 3 p.m. .

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Construction update

April 26, 2017


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Construction Update

April 5, 2017

The construction work remains on schedule.  The administrative area should be ready for occupancy by late May; the shelving area will be ready for occupany in early June.  In the photograph below we can see the progress made in installing the 23-foot-high shelving -- the installers have completed one sixth of the total shelving.

Five College Library Annex

January 25, 2017

The walls are up.  The roof is on.  The septic field is in. The concrete work on floors and stairs and the utlity mezzanine is completed.  The building is weatherized so various crews are working aggressively to complete duct work, electrical work, fire protection systems, framing and insulation. We are scheduled to be ready to start installing the shelving in late March.  The overall project is under budget and ahead of schedule, with plans to open the building and to welcome materials from Smith College in late May 2017.

January 24, 2017  Inside the shelving module which will eventually have capacity for 2.1-2.5 million volumes on shelves rising 23’ high.
Five College Library Annex

January 24, 2017  Exterior view from the southeast (the long wall faces Plain Road).
Five College Library Annex

January 24, 2017  Inside the administrative wing.
Five College Library Annex

January 24, 2017 From inside the materials processing workroom of the administrative wing.
Five College Library Annex

Earlier photos and status reports:

November 7, 2016:  Wall panels going up!
Five College Library Annex

November 1, 2016:  Contractors applying the binder layer of asphalt on the parking; concrete floor slabs covered by tilt-up castings of concrete wall slabs are in the background.
Five College Library Annex

October 25, 2016:  Final sections of the concrete floor slabs are being poured.
Five College Library Annex

October 14, 2016:  The 8" thick slab for the floor of the shelving area and the 4" thick slab for the administrative area were poured on Monday and Tuesday, October 10-11, 2016.  After these slabs cure in about a week, those surfaces will be used for casting the 40-foot tall by 20-foot wide wall sections which will then be raised into place by a large crane.  The walls should be up by early November, followed by the structural steel and the roof.  The whole building should be enclosed by about the end of November.  The project remains on budget and on schedule for completion and commissioning of the new Five College Library Annex in late May 2017 when it will be open for operation.

Five College Library Annex

September 15, 2016:  The ceremonial groundbreaking was today (see photos and floor plans in the attachments at the bottom of this page).  After completion of the compacting of the subsoil (by a total of 4-5 inches) construction began with installation of footers and infrastructure for plumbing, sewer and stormwater drainage which were also completed today. Also completed this summer was the installation of nearly 2500 ft. of ten-inch pipe to connect two parts of the Hatfield water system which will provide sufficient water flow and pressure for fire protection sprinklers at the Annex.  Next steps are preparing and pouring the slabs for the floors to be followed by forming and pouring the slabs that will be installed as the walls of the building. 

July 12, 2016.  The first step for this site is to compress the glacial till (gravel, sand and clay) which filled the lakebed of old Lake Hitchcock to create a firm base for the construction.  This is accomplished by pre-loading the site with gravel of a weight equivalent to that of the building when it is filled with books.  The pre-loading was completed on July 1.  Compression of the underlying soil has already reached four inches, most of what was predicted based on 100-foot-long cores taken of the soil.  To view the pre-loaded site see the attached photograph.

Site Preparation
Arial View Plans
First Floor Plans


The Five College Board of Directors decided at its meeting in May 2014 to build and operate a Five College Library Annex, scheduled to open in late spring 2016, with a shelving capacity of 2.1-2.5 million volumes. On May 16, 2016, FCI purchased a 12-acre property in Hatfield east of Plain Road and south of the intersection of Plain Road and West Street (US Route 5 and MA Route 10), bounded on the west by West Street and the exit ramp for Exit 22 on northbound I-91. (The street address is 202 Plain Road, Hatfield, MA.) The site plan has been approved by the Hatfield Planning Board and work on the site began on May 17, 2016 with expected completion in mid to late May 2017.  Five Colleges has hired Cutler and Associates, Incorporated of Worcester, MA as its design-build firm for the project.  

The shelving in the Annex will be available to serve the Five College Library Repository Collection (FCLRC), which is currently overflowing the space FCI leases from Amherst  College in the bunker on MA Route 116, and to serve the library needs of any of the five campuses. The decision to build the Annex was motivated by particularly strong needs of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries and projected long-term and short-term needs of Smith College Libraries. Explorations of possibilities for this project began at the request of the Five College librarians and chief academic officers in 2011, and this particular plan was advanced by the librarians and gained endorsements of the chief academic officers and the chief financial officers.

The long-term purpose of the Library Annex is to house print materials for which there is no longer space in our campus libraries. Materials selected to be placed for the long term in the Annex will be chosen from among lesser used items. The climate-controlled conditions in the Annex will be better for long-term preservation of the materials than the conditions in the on-campus library stacks. The proximity of the facility means that the materials will be readily available for return to campus libraries for use by patrons from the five campuses.

As is true for the portion of the FCLRC housed in the bunker, the Five College messenger will make morning and afternoon stops at the Annex to retrieve requested items. Already many requests, which can be submitted on-line, are for journal articles which are provided by staff members serving the FCLRC as high resolution pdf photocopies sent electronically.

Most immediately, this new facility will offer space for the estimated 250,000 volumes ready for addition to the Five College Library Repository Collection and will offer an attractive leasing option for the UMass Amherst Libraries, which recently completed a master plan demonstrating the need to relocate 1.5 million volumes of its 4 million volumes from on-campus libraries in the next ten years. Already, some UMass library items have been moved to other leased off-campus shelving as the new master plan is being implemented, and those items will be relocated to the Annex after it opens. The Five College Board of Directors decided to build a facility with sufficient additional capacity to meet the potential needs of Smith College, which is moving forward with its new library plans for major reconstruction and renovations of Neilson Library that would require temporary relocation of over 1.2 million volumes of its circulating collections. Additionally staffing from Smith would be hosted at the Annex to service this more actively used "circulating collection" during the 2-3 years of the renovation and reconstruction project. 

The Annex will also be available for hosting library collections from any of the campus libraries which exceed the capacities of on-campus facilities. 

Decisions about which, if any, materials will be moved from any given campus to the Annex will be made exclusively by that campus. For example, Amherst College has no plans to move any material into the new facility, but it recognizes the pressing needs of several other schools and thus gladly endorses this Five College initiative.