I would like to see Honors students have access to the Graduate Study room. Some times the library gets very crowded and I have been unable to get a quiet study space. Also it is usually difficult to get access to a computer on the fourth floor. However I have noticed that the Graduate study room never seems to be full and there are always available computers. Thanks.
From: an undergraduate student
Mary Ellen Spencer, Head of Research and Instructional Services, responds...
Thank you for sending us the suggestion that VCU Libraries grant access to the John Mapp Graduate Study and Reading Room to VCU students enrolled in the Honors College. We understand your concerns about quiet study space in the library. As we explored your request, we considered a variety of issues.
First, the Graduate Study and Reading Room was funded by private donations specifically designated for a graduate student facility. These donations made it possible for the VCU Libraries to offer an important service that is typical in most academic research libraries.
VCU’s Honors College offers designated study space in the residence hall, available to all Honors students regardless of their place of residence. The housing facility on West Grace Street includes a lounge, a computer lab, individual study rooms, and a "living area" on each floor for group study and meetings -- all reserved for the use of the Honors College.
In the short time it's been open, VCU Libraries' has observed moderate to heavy use of the Graduate Study and Reading Room. We anticipate that, as word-of-mouth about this room grows, demand for the space will grow as well.
This past year, Cabell Library rezoned areas of the library to increase the amount of quiet study space. We recognize, however, that study space in the library is inadequate, and we are sympathetic to your frustration. Cabell Library was built in 1975 with a planned capacity for one million books and a student population roughly half the size of the current study body. The need to add shelving for what is now a two million volume collection reduced space, as did the need to add furnishings to deploy almost 200 public computer workstations. Today, the library provides 40% less space for students than it did in 1975. The long term solution to this overcrowding is a significant addition to Cabell Library. The University Librarian is working closely with University leadership to share this information and communicate these needs. (Learn more about building use and statistics from this November, 2007 blog entry.)
In the shorter term, please continue to make use of the Quiet Floor (4th) and the Quiet Study Zone (2nd). If others in these areas fail to observe the quiet space guidelines, please talk to a member of the library's staff or to a security guard at their station at the entrance to the building. If you need a computer, you may want to check out our new Laptop Loan program, available in Media and Reserves on the third floor. These laptops are available to use throughout Cabell Library for up to four-hours.
Thank you again for taking the time to send us your suggestion.