University News

Libraries get improved study spaces

Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The fourth floor of the Sciences Library and a small area on Level A of the Rockefeller Library were recently renovated to create additional places for quiet study.

“Recently we’ve had more students ask us for quieter study spaces,” said David Banush, associate University librarian for access services, adding that demand for such spaces in the SciLi was particularly high. The new space is divided into four rooms of varying size, which Banush said are “first-come, first-served,” and a larger, open space which is designated for quiet study.

In the main room, several white tables dot the variegated purple and brown rug. Freestanding white boards intersect the tables, and there are moveable purple dividers that can be used to section off study spaces.

“I’m a fan,” said Sumitha Raman ’13. “It’s quiet and big and open.”

Steven Lavallee, head of the Friedman Study Center, said requests for more space were voiced multiple times at a Friedman-Rock Advisory Council meeting. The committee consists of four students appointed by the Undergraduate Council of Students and four appointed by Brown’s library faculty.

Stacks on the A level of the Rock were removed to make room for the new study space, and many shelves of books were moved to the Library Collections Annex. “It really reflects the changing nature of the use of library facilities,” Banush said. “We’re not acquiring as much printed material as we used to and people aren’t using it as much.”

Banush said SciLi attendance figures from the last academic year were some of the highest ever. “We could probably sell seats at auction during exam period.”

There will be seating for 96 people on the fourth floor of the SciLi, Banush said. New chairs are scheduled to arrive soon.

The fourth floor of the SciLi will be open the same hours as the rest of the building — until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m just anxious to see how students like it,” said Lavallee.

“We will certainly try to make our facilities more friendly to student needs,” Banush said.

 While the fourth floor of the SciLi was renovated primarily due to student requests, the renovations at the Rock had more practical reasons.

The renovated space on Level A is right near the art books, many of which are large and on reserve for use in the library only. The tables near the books will allow people to look at them with more ease, Banush said, although he added that students had requested more comfortable study spaces in the Rock. The new area will seat 15 to 20 students, and a new L-shaped rug has been ordered for the space.

The lobby of the Rock has also undergone renovations — the reception desk where visitors previously presented their identification for entry has been replaced with a set of electronic doors that open automatically when the proper identification card is swiped.

Banush said he wasn’t sure where the money for the renovations came from, but that “the money from these sorts of things typically comes from donations.”

Raman said it was her second time in the space, adding that she thought she would probably return to the fourth floor. “It’s always a good thing to have more space.”

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