The E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library has added a Meditation, Prayer and Reflection Space, in addition to the new One Button studio, Lehigh University Art Galleries exhibit and [email protected]
“It’s not about the stacks, it’s about the students,” said Bruce Taggart, the vice provost for Library and Technology Services.
Wanting a closer, more neutral space on campus than traditional places of worship, students in Lehigh’s interfaith group asked Taggart if the library would be willing to have a safe space for meditation, prayer and reflection.
Located on the fifth floor in the north wing, the Meditation, Prayer and Reflection Space has couches, mats, cubbies and prayer rugs.
Taggart said the quiet and calming corner provides a space for students to exhale and relax during busy and stressful weeks of exams and finals.
Open to the public during all library hours, the space is consistent with the library’s mission to promote diversity, said Mark Canney, the manager for lending services at Fairchild-Martindale and Linderman libraries.
“With so many students spending a lot of time in the library, the space provides a break from academics,” Canney said. “Some students have expressed that meditation or prayer is part of their daily routine”
He said the space helps Fairchild-Martindale Library pursuit truth and excellence.
There are copies of the Quran, Bible and other religious texts located inside of the cubbies. Paper and pens are provided so students may write notes and reflections.
Velin Tarkochev, ‘21, the president of the Muslim Student Association, uses the space once or twice a week for daily prayer.
Tarkochev said it’s convenient for Muslim students to go there and pray.
“When Muslim students study for several hours, they either have to find their own isolated corner somewhere, or they need to leave the library to complete their prayer,” Tarkochev said. “It’s very nice to have a designated place as a prayer area in the library.”
Taggart plans for the space to be a permanent fixture in Fairchild-Martindale Library.
The Meditation, Prayer and Reflection Space is an example of the library’s goal to make the environment a more equitable community, he said.
“It’s pretty rewarding to have the library identified as one of those places,” Taggart said.
The new addition to the library comes a few months after the UnpLUg Zone was unveiled at Taylor Gym, offering a meditation studio for the Lehigh community to practice mindfulness.