Students are going to the library less and the new Bergami center more

Beth Beaudry, Student Life Editor

The Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation has quickly become a popular spot on campus. It offers various seating areas, classrooms, the new Bucknall Cafe and study rooms. With students going in and out, sitting and socializing, it offers a sense of pre-COVID normalcy. To some, it is what the library used to be.

The floors of the library vary in noise level, and the bottom floor used to be an open, loud study area where students could cram around a table and interact. But because of COVID-19 regulations and the need for social distancing, this energetic, crowded space has emptied.

One of the most unfavored changes is that students are now required to reserve seating and computers. This decision was made as a safety measure, as the library must be at half capacity and having an online reservation system ensures that the library does not exceed the 50% attendance maximum.

University librarian Hanko Dobi said that she and other librarians have seen a decrease in student attendance, and according to a Charger Bulletin Instagram poll, the need to reserve seating is the main reason why.

In the poll, 41 out of 57 voters said that they now prefer the Bergami Center over the library. Many of the written responses referred to the need to reserve a spot as an inconvenience.

“I honestly don’t feel like making an appointment,” said user naneee_e.

User Madison.mcgh said, “It’s too complicated to use now [because] of covid.”

User 624.Krf prefers the Bergami center because the library is “too quiet and stuffy” whereas the Bergami Center is more laid back and busy.

However, according to some voters, there are some amenities that the library still has over the Bergami Center, such as the printers and Quiet Study Floor. This semester, there are also new study carrels, all placed at a six-foot distance.

“The Berg Center is just too crowded like all of the time,” said user angela.boland, who referred to the building as a COVID-19 “regulation nightmare.”

Following the announcement that some COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in the fall semester, Dobi said that the library hopes to reopen at full capacity, but will continue to take necessary precautions.

“Our goal is always to provide a safe environment for students to conduct their research and study as well as the assistance to succeed in their endeavors,” said Dobi.

Whether or not the library will return to being an academic and social hub, well, that’s up to the students.