I used to spend the majority of my time studying in the large open area on the first floor of Paley Library. This space had private study desks, computer access and a great view of the Bell Tower.
Unfortunately, this space is no longer accessible to students. It has been blocked off since the end of the summer in order to move the advising offices for the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Technology to the first floor of the library.
The construction required to move these offices has made Paley Library at times uncomfortable due to noise and crowding.
As a commuter student, I rely on the library during the day to complete my school work because I can’t just go home in between classes. But since the construction began, the silence I need to focus on my work — and that I expect of the library — has been replaced with the sounds of hammering and drilling.
“The noise has not been as disruptive for the students because it’s more contained, and it’s also during the day,” Dean of Libraries Joe Lucia said.
Unfortunately, for students like me who mainly come to the library during the day, construction may still interrupt their studies.
Mekayla Noll, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, comes to the library in between her morning classes.
“I just come here, so I don’t have to walk home,” Noll said.
“The last time I was here, there was drilling,” she added. “It was distracting. It was really loud.”
It should go without saying that a library needs to be quiet. This is essential for students to read and study, and to use the library the way it’s supposed to be used.
The changes due to construction have already had a visible effect on the study habits of students, Lucia said.
“We recognized its negative impact on the students,” Lucia said. “It’s not a decision that originated in the library.”
“When you’re part of the university community and something like this is asked of you, you kind of have to go along with it,” he added.
The noise levels are not the only unfortunate consequences of current construction. About 25 to 30 computers from the quiet zone have also been removed.
Paige Glenn, a junior media studies and production major, said the loss of these computers is an “inconvenience.”
“I’m trying to find seating in the library for a computer, and it’s all filled up,” she said. “So I’m up [in the mezzanine] trying to do ‘computer work,’ but I have to do it off my phone.”
“I actually have to bring my laptop to school,” Glenn added. “I wasn’t planning on it.”
The first floor has become crowded as seating and floor space were also lost.
Kaisha Vilcinor, a junior psychology major, said she used to spend a lot of time on the first floor in the quiet zone before it was completely blocked off for construction, and she doesn’t like using the library’s upper floors.
“The upper floor quiet areas have a lot less tables so there’s just a lot less space in general, a lot less computers, a lot more people in a little, small area,” Vilcinor said. “It’s just a lot more crowded.”
“There aren’t really that many quiet spaces on campus to begin with, and [the university is] getting rid of them all,” she added. “By the time that construction for the new library’s done most of us won’t be here to experience it.”
For upperclassmen like Vilcinor and myself, it’s hard to see any benefits from the current construction happening in Paley Library. Temple’s new library won’t open until 2018, and I, like many others, will have graduated by the time it’s open to students.
Lucia said he is concerned with making sure students realize the library and its staff members are still working to provide for their needs.
“[Students] can look at this decision and say, ‘Well, why did they decide to get rid of the space that we were using?’” Lucia said.
This is exactly the question I have for the administration, which chose to begin tearing down sections of Paley Library before the foundation of the new library has even been completed. While future Temple students may still benefit from the new library and advising offices, current students shouldn’t be forced to suffer in the meantime.
Sira Sidibe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.