For more than 15 years, the staff at Coates Library has worked on developing more convenient study spaces for students. From updated technology to more study-friendly furniture, the library has changed quite a bit.
â€œItâ€™s an ongoing process. It will never be done,â€ said Diane Graves, librarian.
In order to know what needed to be done to maximize studying, they asked students to take pictures of their personal workspaces to see what they all had in common.
â€œBefore investing, we needed to know what the students were doing and what specific things they needed,â€ Graves said.
Through the survey, the library staff found that students all liked the ability to use a computer, spread their things and have a friend nearby while studying.
Although there was a consensus on space, lighting and the availability of outlets, the library staff found that there also needs to be different levels of silence for studentsâ€™ diverse study needs.
Though, overall, it is a quiet place to study, with only the third floor that allows speaking, the library was still getting requests for quieter places.
After having students vote on a name, this ultra-quiet space, located on the first floor, was dubbed the â€œZen Den.â€
â€œThe upper floors are too disruptive,â€ said Quinn Bender, first year.
First year Chiara Pride said that the upper floors are too popular with other students.
â€œThereâ€™s a chance youâ€™ll run into someone you know on the upper floors,â€ Pride said.
The Zen Den is isolated and offers comfortable study areas as well as good lighting and power outlets â€” perfect for students who need absolute focus to do their work.
In order to find the furniture that best fit the studentsâ€™ needs, test furniture was displayed last spring, and the librarians asked students to try them out and offer feedback.
â€œThere was one thing that everybody loved,â€ Graves said. â€œI first saw them at a convention â€¦ and thought it would be interesting to see if students liked them, too.â€
Graves is referring to the blue, pod-like work lounges placed sporadically on the top floor of the library. Each contraption provides a footrest, pivoting table, outlets and a wall that sets its user off from the rest of the library. Some are placed in front of windows in case students prefer to work with a view.
The blue pods are the most popular piece of furniture, and Graves says the library is thinking of investing in more because of the positive feedback.
â€œItâ€™s the only place I can be productive. I loved studying outdoors, but itâ€™s hard to be out there with the heat, so itâ€™s nice to be able to enjoy it from in here,â€ said Laura Gomez, first year.
Junior Ruby Waddell said that the furniture in the library does not have a unifying theme to it.
â€œThe furniture in the library is mismatched and weird, but itâ€™s comfortable,â€ Waddell said.
Along with the blue lounges and additional study spaces, there have been long-awaited renovations to the bathrooms and power strips placed in more convenient places for students.
The library will continue to test out more furniture in the fall, specifically before midterms when the library hits its peak traffic, in order to keep up with new technology and to provide the perfect study spaces for students.