By Grace Hogsten
Elm Staff Writer
Many students struggle to find the perfect study spot on campus. Maybe they are looking for somewhere with a white board to write on, a place with enough room to study with friends, or even just a distraction-free zone.
The study rooms on the upper level of the Clifton M. Miller Library, which are furnished with tables, rolling chairs, and whiteboards, are a great option because they allow students to have some personal space in a centrally-located building.
At the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester, the library implemented an online system to reserve study rooms. Students can now log onto WC Online, the site used to register for tutoring appointments, and reserve a study room for a block of time.
“It was a response to students’ requests. [Students said] that the study rooms are often being used for extraordinary amounts of time by a single person or a group of people, so [we wanted] to find a system that allowed individuals to have equal access to the space,” Research and Instruction Librarian in Science and Mathematics Alex Baker said.
According to WC Online, students must have a group of at least two people to reserve a study room, and they cannot make a reservation for longer than three hours. These limitations promote fair and appropriate use of the rooms.
While study rooms can offer a good study spot for one or two students, groups of three or more take precedence. The ground and quiet floor has lots of study carrels that seat one or two students, but larger groups can only sit together in study rooms.
Even so, a single group of students should not monopolize a common area for more than three hours if other students also want to use the space. The reservation limit reminds students to be mindful of others’ needs.
Although the online system offers solutions to many issues students have with the study rooms, many do not use them.
“I wish more people used [the reservation system]. It’s super easy to reserve a room. It sucks to ‘kick someone out’ of a room because…you booked it not knowing anyone would be in it,” sophomore Evan Merk said.
Students who work in study rooms without reserving them should be prepared to leave if someone else reserves the room. If they don’t make a reservation, they won’t have guaranteed access to the space.
Some students have questions about study room etiquette now that reservations are an option. For example, some are unsure if they can still use open study rooms to study alone.
“Last year, I knew that whatever [study room] was open I could use, but it was also annoying because they were always full,” sophomore Kaitlin Osucha said.
The addition of reservations may make this situation feel a little confusing, but if a study room is not reserved or currently in use, students are welcome to walk in.
“[Some] students…want to use [study rooms] just as individuals…if it is open and you look at WC Online and no one has booked the space, feel free to go right in and utilize it,” Baker said.
Personal study spaces are a very popular feature of the library, and the library staff is always looking for ways to make them accessible to as many students as possible.
Dean of Library and Academic Technology Mary Alice Ball said that the library is considering the idea of adding study rooms to the ground floor, and that the staff was looking at the budget and talking to a vendor.
Despite issues concerning the library study rooms, students should not feel like they cannot use the space. The library is a resource for all WC students, and the librarians are happy to hear feedback from students so that they can improve the space.
“Any time students feel empowered enough to speak up and share their voices, we’re listening. We want to make sure that we have the services that you guys need,” Baker said.
Photo by Parker Thornton.
Photo Caption: Students are able to reserve study rooms for group projects or study sessions by using the WC Online website.