Libraries on college campuses can turn a student’s learning environment from okay, to amazing. Every student needs a place to study when their roommates are being annoying, or the siblings are too loud. Libraries have the opportunity to inspire and many students rely on them when needing to do work outside of the classroom. Access to certain artworks and wide ranges of text and information should be available in person for students unable to access the internet, or for those who simply enjoy the physical text.
The SMCC library has a wide range of texts in order to help students achieve success. For a small community college, there seem to be enough ways to access information for the number of students enrolled. However, some students would say that the library isn’t large enough for many students to sit comfortably. Mostly grey, uninspired cubicles are offered on the second floor in between the few bookshelves. There’s one room with about four tables that take up a small space when first stepping onto the second floor where students are able to study. The first floor is full of offices, and the bookstore which is used as the campus center. This means the “library” is only one floor, with not many optimal spaces for study. Since the building is both the campus center and the learning commons many offices are located there. It would be beneficial to consider dedicating an entire building to the library alone.
One student, Ella Quigg says she has difficulty focusing in her dorm room, and that oftentimes when she finds herself in the library on campus it’s hard to focus in many of the spaces that are provided. “I just wish it was bigger… the few ‘quiet areas’ aren’t always quiet and there are not many opportunities to study quietly with a group of people because those places are occupied by loud groups of students that are only there to socialize.” Ella, like other students, find it difficult to find quiet space when the library is busy in the middle of the week.
Perhaps an option for SMCC would be to invest in making the campus center building a full and complete library. The building is large enough for the number of students to have optimal study space if it was solely used as a library. Since a library’s environment is typically meant to be quiet it would be beneficial for students to have an entire building dedicated to being a library alone, rather than the library being on the small floor that’s combined with the busy campus center.
One study by Post University mentions the importance of quietness in the library: “By their very nature, libraries are quiet spaces. They have a calmness about them that helps you focus and study, so you are set up for success. They also give you some privacy while you are working on big projects.”
Speaking from personal experience, when I did a semester at the University of Maine in Orono, Fogler Library was a great place to go whenever I needed to get my work done. It had five floors dedicated to studying areas and bookshelves. It was perfect because it was so easy to find big tables for group activities, certain rooms dedicated to socializing, as well as many quiet corners to get lost in. Perhaps faculty and students yearning for a larger study space would be interested in getting together and figuring out a way to come up with donations for a full library. When the athletic building is three times the size of the library on campus, it seems confusing what the campus’ priorities for students are.
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