Library redevelopment: too little too late


Beth Mason

The view of hundreds of students lining Hillhead Street to get into the library is a scene that is becoming commonplace, while lifts that are packed to the brim with students and the everyday hunt for a space to study continues to be a normal occurrence despite the recent library redevelopment.

Costing over £3.5 million and with a delay of nine months, the library’s refurbished first and second floors were opened, which boast of the creation of 150 new study spaces. Level 2 has been designed as a dynamic new learning environment, while Level 1 has become another silent study area. One advantage of both these floors is that they provide greater access to power outlets allowing you to bring a laptop or tablet with you without trying to find a free computer, which of course, are like gold dust on any level.

Disappointingly (yet unsurprisingly), library redevelopments have failed to provide even a fraction of the seating required to deal with our continually expanding student body. During peak times, finding a seat is an almost impossible task at a reasonable hour and many find themselves trekking around several floors of the library before finding an available space.

Not only has it not dealt with over-crowding, the introduction of the revolving door has increased congestion. How anyone thought a revolving door would be a suitable addition to a building with as high a footfall as the library will forever be a mystery. When in operation, the door’s safety stop mechanism is triggered every few seconds, delaying those both entering and exiting. For this reason, it is usually collapsed to its minimum size which still lessens the number who can pass through at any given time and contributes to the all-familiar queues.

No one expects the 150 seats to alleviate this problem at exam time if the redevelopment cannot even deal with the routine comings and goings of university life. The library has made use of all its available space and it still is not enough. Should we curb admissions in future years to gradually ease over-crowding or should we pin our hopes on the redevelopment of the Western Infirmary and its proposed Learning and Teaching Hub? Either way, the issue will most likely not be addressed during our time at Glasgow and we had best consider investing in a decent Ikea work desk or at the very least a good alarm clock come exam time.


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