Library Study Rooms
In the last year, the library study rooms have been booked 5,789 times. This does not include walk-ins. For those reservations, students spend an average of two hours in the rooms each session. Students reserve study rooms to independently study, have job interviews, attend virtual classes and webinars, meet with groups, and even host TA office hours.
Despite playing such an important role for students, the study rooms haven’t been updated in decades. Seeing as the graduate student government, working alongside the library, was able to remodel the study rooms on the third floor a few years ago, I think that USG could be the ones to make a difference here.
The study rooms on the third floor are for grad students only (due to being funded primarily by grad student government) and are much nicer than the other study rooms. They have comfortable chairs, new desks and whiteboards, and colors other than the off-white, beige, and grey palette found in every other study room. They have these things because the graduate student government listened to what the grad students at the time wanted and put funding towards achieving that goal.
In contrast, the remaining study rooms haven’t been touched in years and it shows. The chairs are uncomfortable, the lighting is harsh, and the rooms feel almost clinical. For rooms that are used by dozens of students every day, they have not received the attention they deserve. They are functional spaces, but not comfortable ones.
The last time the library was renovated was in the 1970’s. Multiple library renovation plans have gone through committees over the years, but other projects were prioritized across campus and the library has only been able to improve areas with limited budgets. Book and Brew and the lobby will be the next areas to be renovated.
A full renovation has been in the works for over six years. Unfortunately, by the time the library was finally being considered, inflation had pushed the cost up by almost double.
Additionally, the current library director, Carol Smith, is leaving on May 12th. She is the one who made the Studio, Scholars Hub, and graduate study rooms happen. Without her, the library will likely need help getting approval and extra funding for projects if that position isn't filled for a while.
Those who work at the library are incredibly passionate and do everything they can to make it the best space for students that it can possibly be. Students use the library from open until close, with the study rooms being almost always completely occupied during peak hours. Seeing as it is one of the most popular places on campus to study, work in groups, or just relax, this kind of renovation would benefit many students.
The full renovation would cover everything in the library, including the study rooms. However, it has become clear that this full renovation will not be coming as soon as hoped. The library plays an essential role on campus and is an important part of the Mines experience for students and faculty alike. As Mines students, it is our duty to advocate for the change we want to see on campus, and Arthur Lakes Library could use our support.
For more information on the full renovation, plans can be found on the library website, through this link. Clicking "see full version" will link to a pdf detailing everything that the full renovation would entail. This includes concept photos and a breakdown of costs (pg 77). https://library.mines.edu/about/renovation/