Students returned to the remodeled library this fall semester with rather mixed feelings.
Over the summer, the library’s first floor underwent major changes in structure and appearance. The renovations were mostly directed toward reducing long lines for printers and computers and expanding the study area. A more efficient use of the first floor’s space was supposed to provide more room for additional printers, computers and more seating.
Brianna Sluder, a psychology and gerontology double major, thought the $2 million spent on remodeling the library should have been used otherwise.
“The library looks great,” she said. “But USF has their priorities mixed up. They should have used that money for better printers, grants, and better doctors and health care professionals at the Student Health Services.”
Five weeks into the fall semester, students are still struggling with insufficient seating in the first floor’s study area.
“It looks spacious and more open now,” said Jacob Smith, a junior majoring in English education. “But it is usually full on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”
Smith comes to the library twice a week to meet up with his Japanese study group. Due to limited study space on the first floor, they usually get a room on another floor.
“We usually have to wait like 20 minutes to get a study room,” Smith said.
Vince Damian, a physics major, works at the library’s front desk. He also comes to the library five times a week to study in between classes. He usually looks for seats on one of the upper floors to do his homework.
“It seems like [conditions] have improved,” he said. “But I am more likely to find a seat up there because there is more seating available.”
Before the library’s renovations, students had to circle around in the computer area to find an available workstation. Additional computers have made improvements regarding this issue.
“I usually get on a computer pretty quick,” said Jackie Collier, an international studies major.
She comes to the library every day, mainly to use the computers or to study Japanese with Smith. Neither student has had problems finding an available computer.
But Sluder is not too optimistic about the new computer area, which is set up with computers grouped together in several circular formations.
“The library was fine the way it was,” she said. “I actually liked the computer setup better before.”
Sluder comes to the library three or four times a week to use the computers and printers. Students can now find five printers on a little island in the computer area. Despite additional printers and a new setup, Sluder has not noticed any improvements.
“The lines are actually longer now,” she said. “Two days in a row, I went to print something and waited in line for almost half an hour since the printers are not all working.”
For Yang Geng, a secondary education graduate student, the lines for the printers always vary depending on the time of the day.
“Sometimes it’s faster, sometimes it’s slower,” she said.
New lighting, carpeting and furniture were also installed for a friendlier learning environment. The first floor now features brighter lights and different shades of green on its walls and carpets, which gives the library a more modern look. Old seats were replaced by cushioned chairs.
“The chairs are pretty comfy,” Collier said.
The fall semester’s midterms will be the first major test for the library’s recent renovations and its targeted problem areas when larger crowds of students come to the library to study.
Library administration could not be reached for comment.