As the University prepares for the spring semester on campus, students can expect some changes to be made to popular study spots, including the Falvey Library. This comes after complaints from students regarding the difficulties of finding sufficient study space amongst new protocols implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to a drastic decrease in places to do late-night homework and to work collaboratively on projects.
Last semester saw some of the most profound differences in the Falvey Library. The large workspaces and tables across the first and second floors disappeared, as did the spaces to do work in the book stacks of the third and fourth floor. Instead of the typical Reading Room setup of large tables and comfy chairs to sit and do work in, the tables were marked for one to two people only, and the plush chairs were replaced with isolated wooden desks and chairs. The environment of the library itself completely changed. Instead of tables on the first floor to do work at, the entire floor was emptied to accommodate socially distant in-person classes and an organized printer line system.
One of the biggest changes was the hours of operation: instead of the typical 24/7 hours, the library closed at midnight. While students could remain in the building if they were already inside, no more students would be permitted in the building after closing. This left students with only two options: either settling in for a night of work well before midnight or hoping that someone would hear you knock and let you in after-hours.
One student commented, “There were many nights that I would be doing work in Falvey past midnight and hear knocking at the windows of students looking for someone to let them in.”
Luckily, there are a few changes that the library has implemented for the spring semester, including a reversion to the original 24/7 hours. This will quell the voices of those who were stressed about where they would do late-night studying. In addition, there is more study space on the first floor, including single wooden desks and chairs so that students do not have to fight over space elsewhere. These seating changes retake the space by the printers, and although there are not more collaborative tables, this is a big improvement from the complete lack of seating in this area.
The second to fourth floors are not changed from the previous semester. The Reading Room has the same set up as the fall, and all book stacks are still closed. This means that the contactless pickup system still exists, allowing students to request the material they need and receive it without going into the book stacks. Although this also means that there will be no space on those floors to work, the increased desks on the first floor should alleviate the rush of students looking for space.
Overall, even though the library will not go back to normal operations this semester, the changes made for the spring semester are huge upgrades for students looking to study outside of their dorm room. Hopefully, for many, it will serve as an accessible space that they can be productive at during all hours of the day.