LibQUAL+ comments 2007: Environment:general

Environment:general - neg

ARCHITECTURE/ATMOSPHERE
1. The biggest problem with the library (Regenstein) is its atmosphere. I hate the individual study carrels, which probably make up a majority of the study space. The ceilings with exposed piping make it worse. The tables and sofa chairs are too few, but it was definitely the right decision to put sofa chairs by the windows. It's really sad that the architecture eliminates so much of the natural light that we could have in the library. I hope the addition to the library will not repeat this terrible mistake. If the stacks are shifted into the addition, I hope the designers will have the foresight to build large windows and create comfortable, welcoming study spaces along the windows.I would also like to see the library make more of an effort to reduce its environmental impact. Most important is to design the new addition as a green building. The availability of double-sided printing at cheaper prices than single-sided throughout the library would be one improvement. More publicity for the one double-sided printer in the library and for the option of double-sided copying (which should also be cheaper) would also be nice.More recycling bins, lights in the stacks set on timers, and making sure that heating/cooling systems are as efficient as possible are other ideas. And to make the library friendlier to bicyclists,the 10-20 abandoned bicycles forever taking up some of the best spots in the bike racks should be removed.
2. But the physical building of Regenstein (where most graduate students are condemned to spend most of their UC lives) and the environment it creates internally is far and above the single worst thing about the University of Chicago. The massive concrete slabs seemingly suspended in the air but braced of course by steel, etc., creates an utterly depressing, soul-destroying (not to mention disgustingly ugly) space, which combines with the 9 months of pale, biting winter to make any graduate student seriously consider transferring to comparable programs, but with more humanly-compatible central campus libraries, on an almost weekly basis. Seriously. I know that it would cost millions of dollars and many years, but demolishing the architectural monstrosity would be the single greatest improvement to the U. of C. possible.
3. but the atmosphere is bleak and ghastly to work in. Is there anything that can be done to make the library a more inviting place to work?
4. The Reg is not a very attractive or comfortable place to study, particularly when compared with the libraries of peer institutions. Hence the popularity of the Harold Washington Librarary, Newberry Library, and northside cafes. I use the library's electronic resource quite a lot; print holdings are very good (aside from the refusal, too often, to re-order recent popular titles that go missing); ILL is an excellent service. I just don't like spending a lot of time studying there because of the ugly, corporate office-like interior.
5. Regenstein Library could have better interiors, but I use the library every day. I spend more time in Regenstein than anywhere else on campus, so comfort is key.
6. I think there should be a nice reading space available. Regenstein is ugly, the lighting is too bright, the heat is often not warm enough or too warm,
7. so woud nice architecture
8. The layout of the Regenstein study space makes it look like an institution--in my experience people prefer open desk areas to those horrendous cubicles. The lighting is awful (and creates a awfully irritating buzzing sound), the temperature is never consistent, there's a complete lack of power outlets, and wireless connectivity is unreliable. It's a place I dread going to work at.The Regenstein is a depressing building in which I hate spending time.
9. I also never study in the Reg because it is not only depressing but also makes me sleepy, so I have never been able to get work done on the few occassions I tried doing it in the library
10. however, it is not a comfortable place to study.
11. In general, the library is cold and uninviting.
12. The atmosphere at the Regenstein is very oppressive and not very conducive to studying.
13. My main concern with the libraries is that they are quite disinviting for study. There is nothing comforable about them. I find them sterile. And I am refering only to Crerar and The Reg. I can't speak for the others because I do not use them.
14. Also, I think there can be a more comfortable atmosphere that fosters a sense of look around, pick something, and READ. As it stands, the Reg is a very unwelcoming place and not a very comfortable one at that.
15. I never, NEVER study in the library b/c it is so, extraordinarily unpleasant.
16. I THINK IT IS REALLY UNFAIR THAT THE ISSUE OF SPACE IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED IN THIS SURVEY. YOU FOCUS ON QUESTIONS THAT ARE ABOUT EMPLOYEES IN A LIBRARY WHERE THE WHOLE STAFF IS JUST BRILIANT. THE ONLY THING YOU MENTIONED ABOUT INFRUSTRUCTURE IS ABOUT COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONIC THINGS, WHICH IS NOT THE MAJOR PROBLEM
17. The biggest problem at the Reg. is that the building is sick. I think the HVAC system, despite being under renovation is hopeless! There isn't enough air circulation and not enough natural light. I think it would be best to open up an atrium in the center of the building (where the stairs are between the third and second level reading rooms. I wouldn't be surprised if the mold spores and other markers of indoor air quality are quite high. I feel sick if I'm in the library for longer than one hour and I iknow that that is true many patrons, and staff members.
18. Although I think Regenstein is basically an architectural abomination, far from a space that inspires study and learning, as the survey puts it,
19. atmostphere in the Regenstein Library to be dismal and depressing
20. My main complaint, as always, is with the feel of the space: Regenstein is not a beautiful or inspiring place to work
21. Generally speaking, all library buildings (except for Harper) in Chicago are ugly enough to ruin our originality and imagination.
22. The layout of the Regenstein study space makes it look like an institution--in my experience people prefer open desk areas to those horrendous cubicles.
23. It also has terrible temperature control. I have heard nothing but complaints about the atmosphere. I have friends who go to far worse law schools yet have much better study facilities.
24. The law library is a disgrace - poorly lit, extremely uncomfortable chairs, very cramped and ugly.
SUGGESTIONS
25. What needs improvement are the facilities. Its remains a tough place to work: lighting, (seats are finally fixed, five years too late), outlets, air quality, noise levels, study areas, food, number of computers, ease of online databases, etc. Small gestures towards improving the experience of working in the library would go a long way.
26. Also, Crerar might benefit from brighter colors and a slightly more cozy area.
27. I think the library REALLY needs better lighting and working water fountains
28. Please, repair the defunct water fountains.
29. The clocks in the reading areas are often off--especially the one in the southern part of the reading area on the third floor. I would change it, and not bother you about it, but above the cubicles so I cannot reach it.
30. Also this is a seemingly small thing, but those auto-flush toilets don't work and either get backed up or flush four times while you're in there. The fact that they haven't been fixed, along with the drawn-out noise, seems like a sign that people don't care about the library as much as they should.
31. A few of the elevators in Crerar and the Reg seem to be groaning and making death rattles. Their inspection certs are pretty out of date. Might be time to call the elevator inspector, or at least get out the WD-40.
32. Also, the library needs many more large-capacity staplers. As far as I know there is only one in the regenstein, in the Mac Lab. Staplers are not hard to get, there ought to be 2 on every floor.
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Environment:general - pos

1. The renovations are making the Reg more inviting inside--especially evening out the floors in the reading rooms (a small thing that makes a huge difference).
2. Crerar has a spacious and subdued atmosphere that is just right.
3. I like how quiet Crerar is and how much light comes in to the building.
4. Although I have to go to Regenstein occasionally to get research materials, I prefer to check them out and actually study in Crerar because it is such a drastically more plesant atmosphere.
5. Regarding Crerar library, some students think it needs a more comfortable environment because it is 'too sterile.' I would disagree.
6. The Crerar libray is an incredibly inviting place for study and research. The environment is lovely, and the spaces provided are incredible.
7. I like Crear because it is extremely quiet and a nice workspace.
8. I love love love Harper library-it is such a great escape from the Medical Complex as well as the speed of modern life. I like the peace and quiet, the architecture, and the integrity of the space.
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