In just weeks, the Robert Seydel Reading Room will become real!

The reclaimed wood is being milled, and iron pipes are ordered. Thanks to the awe-inspiring generosity and commitment of colleagues, family and friends, the Robert Seydel Reading Room is about to become real.


Mike Meo, an intrepid and inspiring Hampshire alum (F2008) who studied architecture and landscape architecture with a focus in social and environmental sustainability, is the lead architect on the renovation, working under architect Maryanne Thompson Architects.  

Mike’s designs for the project are inspired almost exclusively by Seydel’s books. Robert’s book collection included thousands of volumes of poetry and literature, books on prehistoric art and rock art, history of science, alchemy and occult, art books, photography books & artist books. The designs, featuring open shelving and reclaimed materials, have been developed in consultation with the Robert Seydel Reading Room committee including Sura Levine, professor of art history; Jacqueline Hayden, professor of film and photography; alum and photographer Annie Thornton, Robert’s sister Gail Robin Seydel, librarians Rachel Beckwith, Bonnie Vigeland, and Jennifer King (author of this post.) 

The work will begin in the library in earnest on June 9 when the carpet is removed from the 2nd floor open area, and refinished as polished concrete. The installation of the new shelving system will begin at the end of June. The renovation may be completed as soon as July 31, and the library will spend August assembling the collection for use.

We are planning an opening of the reading room in September, and will keep you posted as those details are developed.  The opening of the Robert Seydel Reading Room will also coincide with an exhibition of his art at Smith College Library’s Mortimer Rare Book Room, curated by Siglio Press’ Lisa Pearson and Martin Antonetti, Curator of Rare Books, opening on September 2.

To learn more about the project’s history, there are earlier blog posts on The Harold including

“Robert Seydel Reading Room” 9/12/2013

Hampfunder for Robert Seydel Reading Room 



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