For the love of god, please give students like myself a QUIET place to study! It is beyond frustrating that our tuition is continually hiked, but the heart of our University (or any university)-our library-is way underfunded and lacking space. Yes, I realize it's "next on the list" after the new classroom building has reached significant progress. But when will that be?? This is an ongoing problem that's been around since I transferred to VCU over three years ago. This is nothing new. What's the point of building more classrooms if there's no place to study what we learn in the classroom, in peace and quiet? I'm well aware that there's a "silent" fourth floor. But when you're sitting down for an extended period of time up there, it's not all that silent. Phones go off, people whisper loudly, and sometimes they'll just talk outright. The fourth floor is now what the third floor used to be. Not to mention, on any given day it's mostly full. Most students, such as myself, do not live alone and cannot have real peace and quiet at home. This is unfair to those of us who spend just as much time studying as we do in the classroom (if not way more), and we're tired of hearing excuses from the administration. Furthermore, it's infuriating that when VCU did spend our tuition dollars on the library, they built the noisiest second floor in library history. Getting work done there is fruitless; it has become a hub for bombastic socializing, and it is essentially now just an extension of the Commons. Even better, VCU put the money into installing shiny new sliding doors in the entrances. I've been here for awhile so I know that at any given time one of the old doors was broken, but on either side there were still three or four more doors. Our fancy new sliding doors went out of order at the beginning of the semester and an entire half of the library entrance was blocked off! Ridiculous. I'm graduating in December, and I love the people of this school with all my heart. But it's infuriating that a school with such academic potential as VCU cares so little about the sacred and central place to all universities: the library.
From: an undergraduate student
Dennis T. Clark, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies...
Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback on the important issue of quiet study space in the Cabell library. First, we appreciate your concern about the relative lack of quiet study. As you note, we have attempted to "tier" the library floors from least quiet (1st) to silent (4th). Invariably, noise -- electronic and otherwise -- creeps onto even the silent floor. We do take your concern seriously and will be increasing our security patrol of the 4th floor in order to deter inappropriate noise.
Likewise, I appreciate your concern about the 2nd floor socializing. That floor is intentionally collaborative (and therefore noisy) because VCU students need places for group work, and we worked hard to meet those needs. Although it may seem like overt socializing, we know from experience that floor is heavily used for academic work. In short, we are extremely sympathetic.
Regarding the doors: We are well aware that the doors have had some rough spots in their first few weeks of operation. We use them ourselves! It's frustrating, though not unexpected with a new installation. We'll keep working to reduce incidents such as the one you describe. We do hear from many students and faculty how much they appreciate the change from the previous entryway doors.
Interestingly, we had library visitors from another Virginia university a few weeks ago. Those folks commented on how every inch of space was in use, due to the high volume of visits in ration to the extremely limited amount of library space per student. This challenge will continue until funds are appropriated to construct another library building. Until then, please know that we work daily in trying to preserve a reasonable balance between quiet and noisy library work. And again, thank you for your thoughts.