By JAMAL SEHAR
With the renovations taking place in the Jepson Science Center, the Alvey and Arrington residence halls and Willard Hall, UMW students regularly have to walk past construction zones on campus. UMW is spending a great amount of money to better different aspects of campus, but they haven’t included one of the most essential parts of campus in their plans: Simpson Library.
Libraries are an essential part of college campuses. For most state universities, the library is the primary place to study. But according to UMW students I’ve spoken to, the library is the last place they would like to study.
This is not because the library does not have adequate resources; we have an impressive range of information at our fingertips and the library is the quietest place to study on campus, but, even with those benefits, many students prefer the Hurley Convergence Center because of its appeal.
The Simpson Library opened in 1989, and, in the almost 30 years since it has been built, it has yet to receive the face-lift that may other places on campus have. Technology and lighting are a big issue for students when working at the library; the technology available at the library is just not as advanced as what is available at the Convergence Center, making modern school work a challenge to do at Simpson.
The Simpson Library is visibly outdated. The chairs are uncomfortable, the study booths are not large enough, and the collaboration rooms do not have the accessibility needed for group projects. These problems lead students to study elsewhere, and, based on an Instagram poll I conducted, 64 percent of 92 respondents prefer studying in the Convergence Center.
Since so many students have started studying at the Hurley Convergence Center, it has become incredibly crowded, which can be very distracting for students who need a quiet place to study. This leads to problems especially during midterm and finals weeks, when every student wishes to study there but cannot because of the lack of adequate space.
The lack of study space not only affects residential students, but commuter students as well. “As a commuter student I rely on the HCC as a place to do my work, but since lately there has not been enough room I have had to study at places off campus, like Starbucks,” said sophomore Chelsie Valencia.
If UMW allocated some of its construction budget to at least modernizing some aspects of the Simpson Library, it would ease the difficulty UMW students have to find a nice place to study. By introducing new, comfortable seating and creating bigger and nicer study booths and rooms, students would be much more comfortable with the idea of studying at the university library.
When speaking to Rosemary Arneson, the university librarian, she recognized and agreed with all the issues about the library that I brought up. Since she recognizes the problems students have with the library, she expects UMW to ask for funding from the state legislature to create a “spiffy, brand new, beautiful library by 2025.”
Without an adequate, comfortable place to study, students will not be able to work at their full potential. The Simpson Library has a plethora of resources to offer students, but its outdated furniture and study spaces result in an unwelcoming environment for many students. Renovating the Simpson Library should be a priority for UMW.