52°F & Clear 7 day forecast Friday, April 18, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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The Top 5 Pros and Cons of the Mary Idema Pew Library—6 Months Later

With exams only four days away, many students have begun the process of last-minute cramming. Since many of us will shut ourselves away in the Mary Idema Pew Library, I thought I would take the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments and disappointments of the new library after a semester of operation.

Accomplishment #1: Library Staff

The staff of the Mary Idema Pew Library—especially the front desk workers—are some of the most tireless and helpful student workers on campus…even at 2:00 a.m.

Accomplishment #2: Streamlined Computer Availability

The digital monitors that display the number of unoccupied computers on each floor of the library is an example of integrated technology at its finest. It simplifies the process of finding available workspaces, saving you a trip up and down three flights of stairs.

Accomplishment #3: Knowledge Market

A space to get help from peer tutors on writing, speaking, or research? Yes, please.

Accomplishment #4: Technology Showcase Room

Although it hasn’t officially opened yet, the premise of this room is still cool enough to make the list. Having a space on campus to try out new technology—from new tablets to 3-D printers—will make this a hotspot of student activity.

Accomplishment #5: ASRS

Ask for a tour at the front desk. The Automated Storage and Retrieval System can hold enough books to fill a 14-story building with books shelved in the traditional way. Plus it makes you feel like you’re living in the future.

Disappointment #1: Still Limited Handicap Accessibility

It’s been six months since the library opened, and there are still no handicap accessibility buttons to enter the student service offices housed in the library. It looks like someone did a cost-benefit analysis, and economics won out over principles.

Disappointment #2: Lack of Shelf Signage

Back when Zumberge was the library, a sign on the first floor posted the shelf range for each floor (for example, 3rd floor: PM – PQ). It would be really convenient for that information to be more readily available in the new library, even if it’s only on the University Libraries website.

Disappointment #3: Argo Tea Weekend Hours

Even though Argo Tea seems to be pretty popular, its weekend hours leave a lot to be desired. It isn’t open on Saturday at all and waits until 5 p.m. to open on Sunday. Now, I don’t know much about business, but I do know that college students want coffee during the weekend. Argo Tea might as well hang up a big sign that points us to Java City.

Disappointment #4: Terrace Closed

Thanks to fire code rules and clumsy people, we’ve been locked out of one of the most attractive parts of the new library.

Disappointment #5: Limited table space

I love the variety of chair options at the new library, but I feel like most people don’t travel all the way there just to read. Most heavy-duty, late-night studying involves laptops, textbooks, and papers spread out on a table, and there simply aren’t enough surfaces designed for this in the new library.

The library’s accomplishments far outweigh the disappointments, if the number of students holed up in it is any indicator. And in the life of a building, a semester is barely any time at all; there’s still plenty of opportunities in the future to work out the kinks.



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