By Jesse Saunders
As Axinn Library celebrates its 50th year, the university needs to strive to make improvements beyond slapping some cheap stickers on a staircase and putting in a different coffee bar. As tours go in and out of the building they love to mention the over 1 million books Hofstra has to check out or the barely visible skyline of New York City from the 10th floor, but they fail to mention that their most recent renovations caused a displacement of hundreds of books, that there is nowhere in the library itself that is 24 hours outside of finals week and that most students will be hard pressed to find a location that offers a seat, heat and Wi-Fi.
Hofstra’s own website states, “The completely renovated main floor contains a cafe and a 24 hour study area.” The fact that these two places are not even connected or that the 24-hour study center is not actually within the library is completely left out. Beyond the doors, students are offered one concrete study space that is open 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. Hammer Lab has very few spots for students to use their own laptop and is more focused on providing students with Hofstra computers and programs, but it is not the dedicated space many need. Any student who has been at Hofstra for more than a year can tell you a Hammer Lab horror story. Student having a meltdown at 3 a.m.? Yep. Someone playing music so loud you can hear it through their headphones? Absolutely. The oh-so-trusted computers randomly shutting down right before you print your term paper? Oh, you bet.
Each semester ends with a beautiful dream of having the library’s first and basement floors open 24 hours and it is glorious. Students are finally offered a warm, quiet, well-lit study space in which they can actually get work done. Hofstra doesn’t need to staff the 10 floors of the library every day of the year for 24 hours a day, but offering more places to quietly work alone would not be met with criticism. The most recent renovation to the third floor saw Hofstra introducing yet another collaborative student space, which is all fine and good, but it is not what students need at this specific moment. While there are majors that are dependent on group projects and the like, it is not always the norm. In the past four years here at Hofstra I have required a collaborative study space maybe four times. I recognize that my experience does not speak for everyone, but based on the empty study rooms on the upper floors, and the multiple open desks in the Hammer Lab or second floor of the Student Center, compared to the five or six students desperately searching for a desk in the quiet study areas throughout the building, it’s easy to see that the wrong problem is being addressed.
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