As classes begin in earnest and students return to Lauinger Library this semester, the look of the second floor may be a shock to some. The library’s overhaul eliminated half of its shelving, leaving the space empty for the time being.
“The library made several space improvements this summer,” Lauinger Library Coordinator of Communications, Outreach and Programming Jennifer Smith wrote in an email. “These projects are all part of our long-term space planning process in order to accommodate our users’ needs.”
Shelving on the second floor is now restricted to the east side of the floor, with the west side cleared. The cleared space is in the process of being converted into an additional seating area over the next few weeks, complete with carpeting and additional chairs and tables.
“We’ve heard from students and seen ourselves how crowded the second floor can get during peak study times,” Smith wrote. “By changing this space from stacks to a study area, we’re hoping to alleviate some of this crowding and give our students more room to do their work.”
Some students think that the changes alter the ambience of the floor.
“I feel like people are more productive … but it changes the vibe of it somewhat. People are more visible to each other, so they’re more aware of what they’re doing. That element of socializing is not going to be the same,” Ambika Tripathi (SFS ’15) said. “It’s too bland, too sterile, like a classroom setting.”
The space previously housed bound periodicals, which have been relocated to off-campus shelving at the Washington Research Library Consortium that students can access through the library’s online request system. Lauinger staff utilized several years’ worth of usage information to determine which periodicals to keep. Certain journals are also now available online.
The study spot will likely regain some of its usual level of activity when Midnight MUG reopens Wednesday. The storefront, which has been repainted and rearranged, will operate with limited hours until Sept. 23, closing at midnight instead of 2 a.m.
The library’s changes extend beyond the second floor. Microforms have been exiled to the lower level while government documents have been relocated to the second floor. Study rooms feature technological improvements, with 42-inch LCD projector systems and new whiteboards in addition to repainting. The fifth floor has also had some of its collections moved in preparation for renovations.
“We try to undertake these projects during the summer to be as least disruptive to our users as possible, but there may be other times during the year that we make some additional changes due to the impending renovation on the fifth floor,” Smith wrote.