Despite weeks of renovations, the North Reading Room in the Frank Melville Jr. Library remains bare as students struggle to find other places to study and do homework on campus. Photo by Dara Bahk.
By Dara Bahk
President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced in his State of the University Convocation address last fall that the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library Reading Rooms would undergo an enhancement.
The North Reading Room renovation would begin at the end of the fall semester and end by the summer term. The Central Reading Room will follow suit and hopefully end its renovations by the beginning of the next school year.
“I think [the library] is progressing really well,” Stanley said in a Feb. 2016 student media avail. “Based on the amount of work that had to be done, it will probably be finished right in time for everyone to be leaving.”
In October 2015, an informational meeting was held with Stony Brook students to gain their input on renovation ideas and formulate a more-refined design plan. On Feb. 17, 2016, the university conducted a behind-the-scenes visit of the North Reading Room for students. Laura Costello, the head of Research & Emerging Technologies at the Stony Brook University Libraries, as well as the appointed head of the North Reading Room design team, guided students around the barren reading room while outlining the layout of the library.
Costello said that the updated North Reading Room would have a completely clear, consistent design adorned with a series of grays, along with the traditional SBU red. A plan for a number of additional desktop computers with grouped printers will enhance student work capabilities.
Students previously stressed that their main concern included the lack of outlets available to them. As a result, more than 200 outlets are going to be implemented in the furniture alone, with more in exterior areas.
Other features will include environmentally-friendly carpeting, sound-proof walls on the second floor for quiet studying, more natural light availability and a welcoming student assistant desk.
Various students were asked for their opinion on the renovations, but none gave permission for their identities to be known in fear of receiving any sort of verbal repercussion. The response about the renovation was mixed, but many were frustrated with the lack of quiet study space. Students also expressed their frustrations with recurring construction happening on campus, labeling the university as inadequate at handling it.
The continuing library renovations will be updated on the Stony Brook Library website.