Originally published October 29, 2010
A new committee has been formed to improve the library, and it hopes to use data from the past to set plans for the future.
The committee, known as the Library Task Force, is made up of eight members, including one faculty member from each of the five colleges, two students and Provost David Glassman.
“We have been meeting weekly for at least a month and gathering information from students,” Glassman said. “It’s not by survey yet, but faculty members have been asking their classes and the students have talked to other students. We are looking for the trends, the strong points and the points that need reviewing.”
Glassman said the committee is drawing on surveys from the past, specifically two major ones in 2005 and 2008.
“These surveys looked at opinions from faculty, grad students and undergrad students,” he said. “Some of the improvements students see now are in the lighting, the cafe and more group study areas. These are some of the things that came out of surveys.”
Another questionnaire is in the works, Glassman said, and the results will help guide future library updates.
“The task force has been looking into articles about libraries in the 21st century from the standpoint of those researching it,” he said. “There are a number of strengths, but now we want to fine-tune the things that need improving.”
Glassman said the committee also plans to set up exit polling stations in the library to ask students about their experiences, visit other university libraries and talk to companies who have redesigned similar libraries within the past five years.
“We’re working, we’re talking and we’re soliciting any opinions from students and faculty,” he said.
Glassman said an important aspect of library renovations would be the ratio of quiet space to group space, and students said increased group study areas should be a priority.
“More group study areas would definitely make a change,” said sophomore mechanical engineering major Michael Wojnar. “I hear complaints about the books, but otherwise, I’m personally content. I’d be all for more group study areas.”
In addition to a greater group emphasis should be an update on library aesthetics, sophomore civil engineering major Lance Littleton said.
“They should improve the atmosphere and jazz it up a little bit because it’s depressing, especially in the basement,” he said. “They should also have more soundproof study rooms so people can actually talk when they’re working together without disturbing everyone. That’s why I go to the library, to work on homework with someone.”
Glassman said the committee should also work on the details such as more outlets, nicer furniture and a simplified system for students and faculty to access articles.
“I have very positive views on the library,” he said. “It’s all about fine-tuning for the greatest benefit. The committee is taking their work very seriously, and all of us are working together.”