Time for Some Library Tender Love and Care

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Photo Courtesy of University of New Haven Website

View of the Café inside the Marvin K. Peterson Library.

Mia Steadman, Contributing Writer

The Marvin K. Peterson Library is a hub of productivity where commuters go to squat between classes and where the café runs out of strawberry acai refreshers too quickly. It is possibly the only place on campus where the atmosphere is filled with equal parts panic and boredom.

As someone who has spent countless hours there scrambling to finish assignments in the wee hours of the night, I can say this: it needs a little TLC.

It isn’t hard to believe that the triangular brick building was originally constructed in 1974. If you overlook the rickety elevator with ‘70s serial-killer documentary lighting, it may not seem that bad. Unfortunately, the issues with our beloved library can’t be solved just with LED bulbs.

As per the building’s food and drink policy, food consumption is limited to the café located on the second (main) level. This would be fine if the café contained more than a handful of four-person tables and a few high-top two-seaters. The space is too often full, and for those who want to study and eat at the same time, the friend groups gathering at the round tables can be distracting. Most students prefer the group study area on the bottom floor, and who doesn’t need some Cheez-Its at 11 p.m. three hours into a cramming session?

The Library states “spilled food can damage books, computers, journals, carpeting, and furniture.” Maybe it’s time to remove some of the carpeting that covers the floor of almost the entire building- save for the café. And of course, no one would want to damage any of the books in the University’s expansive collection, but we should consider whether or not we need to keep them all anyway.

Last semester, President Steven Kaplan spoke at length at a USGA meeting about what improvements students would like to see on campus and near the end, he asked students if they’d ever taken out any of the books from the storage room that takes up a significant amount of space on three floors.

The response was a few raised hands, and he raised the possibility of using that space in ways that would better benefit the student body. I liked the idea then, and I like the idea now. Let’s just hope that it includes more group study spaces, more print-only stations, and less carpeting.