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University library converts offices to student study spaces

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The main university library has converted four former librarian’s offices into study nooks in the southwest end of the first floor.

Signs outside the spaces, which are located behind the reference shelves, indicate that they are “first come, first served.”

Sophomore psychology and theater major Wilson Hettinger detected the professional feeling in the nooks.

“It feels like it’s my own office,” said Hettinger.

Director of Libraries Rebecca Mugridge said Wednesday that space to relocate the four information literacy librarians opened up after the technical services department lost staff several years ago.

“The work in technical services has changed a little bit over the years,” said Mugridge. “We’re not buying as many books, for example, so you don’t need to process as many physical items coming through.”

Mugridge said that the library will work with the Office of Campus Planning to turn the four nooks into glass-walled group study areas similar to those on the other side of the first floor.

The planned renovation comes after controversial plans to move Advisement Services into study spaces in the Science Library were uncovered last April.

UAlbany communications specialist Mike Nolan said Monday that the move is scheduled for late 2019 or early 2020.

Nolan said advisement may take up six of the current study rooms in the Science Library’s second floor, and that Facilities Management is working on adding study areas elsewhere to create a net increase in study spaces.

The Science Library spots are popular places to study for students, including members of professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau, who must complete mandatory library hours.

Last spring, some library faculty had distributed notices urging patrons to email Mugridge and work to preserve the study spaces.

Mugridge said Wednesday that the main library floor space which used to house the old circulation desk will soon be turned into more study stations, and that the physical reference section will continue to shrink in favor of more electronic resources for students.

“Now we’re not throwing things away, we’re either transferring it to the stacks or putting it in storage where it’s still available — you just have to request it from storage,” said Mugridge.

Meanwhile, students who have tried out the four new study nooks appreciate its comfort and noise level.

Though she previously would study in the upper Science Library stations, freshman history major Sabrina Fleming said that they can sometimes get loud.

She said the new nooks have been relatively quiet since she first stumbled upon them and started studying there last week.

“I like this,” Fleming said. “I’m gonna live in here all my life.”

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Joe Hoffman is the managing editor for the Albany Student Press.

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