While Yale library officials are not yet ready to discuss their plans for the renovations of Cross Campus Library, Associate University Librarian Danuta Nitecki said Tuesday that they are taking preliminary steps to prepare for the work to be done.
Nitecki said that librarians are conducting observations of the seating patterns in CCL, and the University has hired a company to perform laser measurements of all the rooms of the library to produce an accurate floorplan. She said the library may also distribute a survey to get student input.
“These are some first steps to try to better understand how that facility is used,” Nitecki explained.
Library staff are continuing a count begun last semester of the number of students who use various features that CCL and Sterling Memorial Library provide, Nitecki said. She said the staff is using charts to determine how many people sit at various times in each area of both floors of CCL and some of the public rooms of Sterling.
From the middle of last September to the middle of last November, staff members conducted about 50 observations, Nitecki said. In those preliminary results, the areas most highly used were tables with four seats in CCL and those with 12 seats in Sterling. Those tables were followed in popularity by the armchairs in the public rooms of Sterling.
“The [CCL] entrance soft seating wasn’t used as much as we thought,” Nitecki said.
Nitecki said that the private rooms or “weenie bins” in CCL were also not used “quite as heavily” as the librarians had predicted, though the ones that hold two students were utilized more often than those in which only one can study.
This semester, Nitecki said, the library is concentrating the survey on the “key times” when more students use the library: the midterm study period and pre-finals reading week. She said librarians would measure usage in the late afternoon, the early evening and around 10 p.m.
Nitecki said the librarians are only counting heads, not watching specific students.
While the usage analysis is proceeding, the University is also looking at the shape of the building itself. Nitecki said the library hired InfoQuest Technologies to measure the exterior and interior spaces of CCL with handheld laser measurement devices. According to the company’s Web site, IQT specializes in creating “as-is” floor plans. Nitecki said the firm performed its measurements during the morning before 2 p.m, at times the library is more lightly used.
A representative of IQT could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Nitecki explained that library officials might also distribute a questionnaire soliciting student suggestions for improvements by the end of the semester.
Many students in CCL this week said they would like to see an improved color scheme, more comfortable seating and more electrical outlets in the common seating areas. Kristen Schmits ’07 said the library should fix the leaking that occurs when it rains.
But others were not in favor of such extensive improvements. Jeff Dwyer ’04 said he did not care what the library looked like, as long as it worked for studying. Chloe Beizer ’07 was even more enthusiastic about the current state of CCL.
“I want it to stay exactly as it is,” Beizer said.
Library officials have responded to a request by the Yale College Council for extended hours. Nitecki said CCL will be open an extra hour, until 3 a.m., from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25 and again from Feb. 29 to March 3.
“Again, we’re going to look and see how much it’s used,” Nitecki said.