Although Bass Library has been open for seven months, students sat down with University officials for the first time last night to formally discuss the library’s functionality.
On Thursday evening, 10 students met with Danuta Nitecki, associate University librarian for public services, and University Planner Laura Cruickshank in Sterling Memorial Library’s lecture hall to discuss the benefits and problems with the former Cross Campus Library, which opened its doors as the renovated Bass Library last October. Topics discussed ranged from the availability of study space, the library as a social center and the Thain Family Café.
Students came to the meeting expecting that administrators would value their thoughts on the Library.
“I know a lot of student input went into the initial planning of Bass,” said Yale College Council Vice President Emily Schofield ’09, who attended the forum. “I knew when I came here tonight that the administrators would value student input [in the continual] improvement of Bass.”
The meeting’s participants said they enjoy Bass Library’s comfortable study environment — some even joked that the seats are too comfortable, to the point where they fall asleep studying — and commented that they regularly study at Bass because of its welcoming feel.
Many students said they were confused about when they could and could not use the study rooms, for example during the so-called “graduate-only hours.” Nitecki assured students that, unless reserved, all library spaces are available to all students during the Library’s hours.
She added that there are six classrooms on reserve in the library for group study sessions or presenting projects. By and large, participants were unaware of these spaces, and agreed that administrators should publicize them better.
Nitecki told participants that she and Cruickshank are trying to encourage more student events to take place at the Café. Certain students suggested the library could host new events such as “Sophomore Night” and periodically hold poetry jams.
Nitecki said library administrators are even brainstorming ways to draw massive crowds of Yale students to the library, similar to when Bass opened its doors with a midnight gala event in October.
“We’re game to have an event comparable to our opening,” she said.
Several students said they appreciated the addition of the Café, which doubles as a social location and a hot spot for cheap, $1 coffee.
Participants expressed concern that it would be easy to take books from the Café without having checked them out. Several said that security guards had not thoroughly inspected their backpacks when they exited, which made them wonder why the library even has guards in the first place. Nitecki explained that the detectors students pass by as they leave the library will go off if students leave with books, and the security guards are simply a secondary deterrent.
Nitecki said the talk allowed her and Cruishank to directly receive student feedback about the library.
“We had a good turnout, and very thoughtful, helpful comments,” she said. “People like the library very much, [but] there are some areas we can give some specific thought to.”
Students said the meeting was a good opportunity to interact with University officials about their feelings regarding Bass Library.
“I think its great when they ask for student input and sit down and explain why they’re doing what,” Nathan Burow ’11 said.
“I know [Nitecki and Cruickshank] care very much about student opinions, and they showed that tonight,” YCC Treasurer Harrison Marks ’10 added.