Study pods installed to answer library seating problems

Rebecca Jordan

Staff Writer

The green-and-yellow piece of furniture that was installed in August in the Marvin Library’s learning commons area has received a positive reception from students and faculty alike.

“I think it’s a bit weird, but I don’t think it’s an eyesore,” said Sarah Curtis, a fine arts major. “I think it’s a comfortable place to sit and separate yourself from everybody else,” she continued.

The latest addition to the Marvin Library is prominently located in the center of the commons area, by the café. According to library staff, the five modern, cubicle-style workstations are collectively known as “the pods.”

Brenda Hazard, the director of the Marvin Library, hoped to address several problems with the purchase of the pods. “Our group study area on the first floor has proven to be extremely popular since our renovation in 2012,” said Hazard. Because of that success, more seating was necessary to accommodate the student population. The pods help to break up the commons and provide comfortable, private areas for study and homework.

Hazard has also been concerned about the noise level in the library commons that has only been increasing with the number of students who visit that area. “We’re kind of victims of our own success. What I’ve been focusing on since last academic year is continuing to make a welcoming space for students that promotes the social learning environment we’ve tried to create here, but that also helps address some of the acoustics,” she said.

The solution was the pods. In addition to providing extra seating in the library, the pods are made of a dense, carpet-like material that helps to absorb sound bouncing off all the hard surfaces in the café.

“I’m really excited about [the pods], and I hope our students feel as though it adds to the welcoming environment,” said Hazard. “ It allows students to get their academic work done while they’re also connecting with old friends and new friends.”

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