Last fall, Milne Library staff distributed a survey on library tables asking students why and how they used Milne Library spaces. We also asked students for suggestions about how the spaces could be improved. We are grateful to those of you who took the time to fill out the survey and turn it in – your responses will help us plan future improvements to the library.
We received 456 responses, pretty evenly distributed among the three floors of the library.
Overall, students are hard at work in our library. Students spend their time doing homework, studying, writing and working on projects. Smaller numbers of students are visiting with friends, eating lunch or passing time on the internet (mostly in association with more serious endeavors).
Students choose seats based on their particular studying needs. While many students indicated that they need to concentrate (and selected spaces on the third floor as a result), others needed to be around people or needed space to spread out. In some cases, students selected space out of necessity – it was the only spot available. Some students suggested that the comfortable seating was great for naps, while others used the comfy chairs for intense reading.
One of the biggest complaints (in certain areas) was the lack of power outlets. As we renovate new areas, we will endeavor to add power. This isn’t cheep, however, and requires extensive prior planning. Our 50 year old building wasn’t equipped to handle modern power demands, so most additional power outlets require upgrades to our electrical network.
The survey responses provided us with several locations where additional power outlets would be appreciated the most.
Students also identified areas where outlets or study carrel lights weren’t working, and we are working hard to make the necessary repairs.
Suggestions and changes:
We got some great feedback on the type of tables students like. With a few dissenters, students really don’t like the new Y-shaped tables on the main floor. A few even tried to explain why:
We won’t be buying more of those.
Students also recommended filling spaces with a variety of table sizes, in order to avoid problems when one person takes up a table intended for six. We intend to remodel some spaces on the lower level of Milne this summer, and we are taking these suggestions into account when ordering tables.
In areas where students had access to whiteboards, they expressed how much they like them. As a result, we will be looking for places to add additional whiteboards (as money allows).
There were a few suggestions that we won’t be able to accommodate. We won’t be adding a fourth floor or getting a new building any time soon (unfortunately). We will not be adding a hot tub, an open bar, a bouncy castle or a taco bell. While turning the library into a TARDIS (bigger on the inside) would help with our not-enough-space issues, our technical staff (while extraordinary) have not quite figured out how to do this. Sorry.