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Science Library Study Spot Could Become Office Space

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A Science Library study hub could be uprooted as early as summer.

Facilities Management has vetted the building’s second floor — home to study rooms, desks, tables, and periodicals — to house potential space for Advisement Services and the Writing Center.

Although undecided, Facilities Management has considered opening up study space in the current Student Association office. University Libraries, in coordination with administration, plans to review other potential sites.

“While the second floor space may be converted to office space for other University staff, the Libraries’ goal is to make sure that we do not have a decrease in student seating,” said Rebecca Mugridge, dean of University Libraries in an email.

Plans also include relocating periodicals to the basement floor, a move intended to modernize library services. Over the last seven academic years, Science Library loans have dropped 38 percent.

“This is why housing them in compact shelving makes sense,” said Mugridge. “They’re still accessible to our students and faculty, but not taking up as much space.”

For months, the shift took some push back. This semester, some library faculty distributed an undated notice urging those who frequent the space to contact Mugridge. They hoped that student input could help sway plans. It read: “Although it appears that the plans are moving forward, there may be some room to compromise to save some or all of the second floor for students to study and collaborate.”

“It was a collective effort, but I’d really rather not talk about it because I think it really doesn’t serve any purpose at this point,” said a faculty member who helped distribute the notice. “Because this thing is going to happen no matter what.”

Jose Reyes, a communications junior, learned about potential changes after a friend shared the notice with him a month back. Reyes claims to use the study space five days a week.

“I feel like it’s quieter here,” said Reyes, describing differences between Science Library and University Library collaborative spaces.

Concerned about the change, some pledges for Theta Tau, a professional engineering fraternity,  reportedly emailed University Libraries. Pledges regularly use the Science Library to fulfill mandated library hours.

“It’s not like we can do physics homework in the main library and actually concentrate,” said Sarah Adams, a sophomore Theta Tau pledge. “I’m so mad about this issue. I hate talking about it.”

Facilities Management originally considered repurposing the third-floor of the University Library to make space.

According to John Giarrusso, associate vice president of finance & administration, University Library stacks are less mobile, one key reason for swaying towards the second floor of the Science Library for space. Another consideration: Renovation of the second floor of the Science Library would also include fewer logistical constraints weighing down other pending projects.

Meanwhile, Advisement Services has spotted the space to meet rising operational demands. Either way, the office is expected to move out with Lecture Center renovation in the distance.

The Writing Center has sought a second location in the Science Library to serve non-traditional students during the current office’s after hours.

“I think the more time that there is available, the more useful the resources become because it meets more of the total student population of people who can access us during their own schedules,” said Steve Madore, assistant director of the Writing Center.

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Tyler A. McNeil is the current managing editor for the Albany Student Press. The Capital Region native previously served as managing editor for The Hudsonian, and as an intern for the Times Union and Capital Tonight.

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