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About Frederick E. Berry Library & Learning Commons

About the Library

Students working together at the library.

The library is open to everyone, including the general public. When school is in session, the library is open Sunday through Thursday nights until midnight and until 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. Before exams, the library stays open until 2 am and during exams, the library is open 24 hours a day on weekdays. The library may be closed during some holidays and has reduced hours when classes are not in session. Visit Library Hours to see a month-to-month calendar of the library hours for every day of the current semester.

wide-angle view of 2 students working on table sitting on a long round couch that curves around half of the table

There are over 1,000 seats in a variety of styles at the library, including 4-top study tables, ADA-compliant height-adjustable tables, curved banquet seating, booth seating, and easy chairs. There are over 150 computer workstations with rolling computer chairs. The library has 12 reservable group study rooms for groups of 6-8 people each. There is also a small reading room on the 2nd floor especially for faculty with 2 computer workstations, 4-top study tables and 2 ADA-compliant height-adjustable tables.

students at library computers

Need access to a computer? The library has over 150 computer workstations, including several computer labs that are used for teaching and independent study.

Viking students enjoying a meal in the Bertolon Cafe

Hungry? No problem. Feel free to eat in the Learning Commons. There is a café on the ground floor of the building. When the café is closed, there are vending machines offering soda, water, other beverages, and a variety of snacks on the 2nd floor of the library.

Frederick Berry in wheelchair outside of new library building, positioned in front of sign titled Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

The library and learning commons are named for Senator Frederick E. Berry who served in the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1983 to 2003. He was the majority leader of the senate from 2003 to 2013. Human services, health care, and education were among his top legislative priorities. He played key roles in the expansion of Salem State University as well as North Shore Community College in Danvers, where the main building is also named for him. As the Salem News wrote of him in 2012, "Berry’s empathy for people in need reflects a life of personal struggle".

He was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that impairs his speech and mobility. The Fred Berry Charitable Foundation, a private nonprofit he established after his election in 1982, has raised over $1 million to help food pantries, homeless shelters, educational programs, and other human service agencies.

Library

Designed by Shepley Bulfinch architects, the building is LEED certified which means it includes a range of environmental features. LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As an added bonus, they save money. The geothermal field systems utilize ground source heat pumps that use the Earth’s temperature a few feet below the surface to provide heating and cooling for the building. The geothermal system reduces the load on conventional heating and cooling systems and lowers the library’s space conditioning costs.

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