Ryan Folk, 23, is looking at classes that he is going to take in next fall semester on Feb. 21, 2020, in Linderman Library. Folk uses the computers that are available in Linderman Library, which are a valuable asset to Lehigh students. (Shaohan Zhang/ B&W Staff)

Growing student body raises concerns about study spaces

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Benjamin Brindle, 21, works on a math simulation calculation for his math class presentation on Feb. 20, 2020, on the third floor of Linderman Library. Brindle is an applied math major and like many other students at Lehigh, uses Linderman Library to complete his studies. (Shaohan Zhang/B&W Staff)

As Lehigh works to add more students to campus through the Path to Prominence initiative, students have raised concerns about limited space within already crowded study areas. 

Greg Reihman, vice provost for Library and Technology Services, said 600 total extra seats have been collectively added to both E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library and Linderman Library over the past three years. 

Reihman said the Lehigh libraries saw around 800,000 visitors last academic year.

“With the announcement for the targeted numbers for growth, we have doubled our efforts to ensure that we are prepared,” Reihman said.

With more students filling the finite amount of space in the libraries, Library and Technology Services staff is looking to maximize study area options by making other buildings more readily available, Reihman said. 

Library and Technology Services administration has focused on improving library resources. The new FML cafe and a variety of different furniture options provide students with unique settings and atmospheres for studying.

Library and Technology Services staff member Hannah Roach, ‘21, said that opening different buildings, like STEPS and Maginnes past 10 p.m. would provide students with more options. In addition to opening more buildings for late-night studying, Roach said it would be helpful to have other late-night food choices as well.

Roach works at the help desk in E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library, and said they are expecting to receive more calls and questions with the anticipated student body expansion.  

“We have enough staff that the student population growth shouldn’t be an issue,” Roach said.

Juan Mozos, ‘23, said that Linderman Library is normally filled with first-year students, and the Path to Prominence is further magnifying this trend. 

Mozos said he can usually find a spot in one of the two libraries, but during midterm and final exam seasons, it can be a challenge. 

“I think that the main problem is finding areas for group studying, especially in Linderman,” Mozos said. 

Reihman said that Library and Technology Services understands that “different students, different days, need different things and study in different ways.” 

He said some students require a social setting, while others need a silent area to study. The library advisory board is currently trying to create more collaborative study spaces on the fifth and sixth floors of E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library, Reihman said.

In order to get a better understanding of students’ perspectives, Library and Technology Services will be sending out a survey via email to students next week, Reihman said. 

He said Library and Technology Services is eager to hear feedback from students about what they wish to see in the future in regards to library changes and alternative study locations. 

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