After the partial closure of the library in the Towne Building earlier this year, Engineering students have struggled to find study space in the Engineering Quad.
At the end of last semester, the books from the library were removed and a portion of the library was closed to make way for active learning classrooms, leaving students with less study space.
During an event to solicit student concerns, the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board heard many questions about the amount of study space.
“In response to students’ questions about where to study, EDAB created a pamphlet of where to study that provides a list of study spaces in and near Engineering,” said Engineering senior Natalie Eisner, the president of the board.
“There really aren’t that many places around the Engineering Quad to study,” Engineering sophomore Grace Memmo said. “But a lot of Engineering students that I know will just study in other areas, like Starbucks or the high rises.”
In response, Ira Winston, the chief infrastructure officer for SEAS , said there is ample space for Engineering students to work.
“I would love students to use the Education Commons [in Franklin Field], but people don’t like walking across the street. The Singh Center for Nanotechnology is also open to students from 8 a.m to 7 p.m. during the week,” Winston said. “If anything, the amount of study space has increased.”
There are also tables still in the Engineering library, without books, for students to use.
While the new Singh Center has been touted for its top-notch facilities, some are not as pleased.
“There are no provisions for any faculty members’ offices, no lounges for students or employees and little work space,” said an employee, who wished to remain anonymous.
This employee also contended that there is not enough room for students in Levine or Skirkanich halls.
The Towne Library will be transformed into several active learning classrooms that will open in the spring, Winston said. The classrooms will hold classes during the day and will be open to students from noon until midnight to allow for more study space.
The library’s closure came as a surprise to many students and faculty members when Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt announced it last March. At the same time, the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library in David Rittenhouse Laboratories was also set to close.
Graduate students and faculty protested the closure of the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library , arguing that they should have been consulted and that research would be harmed without quick access to books.
The closing of the Towne Library got grouped into the negative reaction of the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library closure, but there was not as much protest over the loss of books, Winston said.
“I haven’t heard a single student complain about the loss of books [in the Engineering library],” he said.
A petition to save the libraries was signed by nearly 1,000 students, leading to a compromise that allowed some books to remain in the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library. The decision to remove books from Towne was unaffected.
Students and staff have complained over their lack of input in the closures, but Winston argued that “nothing has really changed.”
“It wasn’t perhaps handled as well as it could have been,” Winston said. “The announcement didn’t go into the specifics of where there would be additional study space. This was more of a communications problem than an actual problem.”
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