UI Library, students adjust to closing of UGL


Sidney Malone

A student sits on one of the tables at the Undergraduate Library during its last day open on May 13.

By Srikamal Munukutla, Contributing Writer

This is the first semester the Undergraduate Library has been closed, and library staff are looking for new ways to adjust the libraries to create a space for students to study. 

The University Library already had a plan in place for the closure of the UGL, including adding approximately 300 new study spaces in the Main Library and extended hours for most of the other libraries. 

“We’ve done two years plus of planning just on accommodations, figuring out where all the services and the spaces and sort of trying to meet student needs as best we can,” said David Ward, director of library teaching and learning. 

Ward said that students want the same feeling they got from the UGL in the new study spaces that were created. 

The University Library incorporated louder spaces where students can replicate a lot of activities they did on the upper level of the UGL while also having quieter spaces that replicate the lower level of the UGL. 

“You can be loud on the first floor, so when I was collaborating with my classmates on projects, it was the perfect environment,” said Vivek Panicker, sophomore in LAS, regarding the UGL.

Additionally, the library staff have incorporated other services, such as rooms designed for students who have online classes and need a place to talk during Zoom sessions. These spaces are enclosed with more sound isolation. 

One place that has incorporated these rooms is the Orange Room located in the Social Sciences, Health and Education Library. 

“It’s not so much an issue — it is more, we need to understand how student needs for spaces are adapting and changing,” Ward said.

One of the biggest changes in the Main Library to accommodate the closing of the UGL has been the creation of the Orange Room. 

This is a newly renovated space created in the Library. It has large study tables and a variety of small and large study rooms, all of which are reservable. 

Heather Murphy, spokesperson for the University Library, said there are problems communicating these new services to the students. 

“I think our challenge lies in making sure people know, students know, that the Orange Room is actually a high noise level space and also allows students to have food and drinks too,” she said.

Most students looking for a place to study weren’t aware these new spaces had been created. 

“I know that they were there, but I’m not sure if it was because of the UGL closing,” says Zubin Havewala, junior in Engineering. 

To try and fix these miscommunications to the students, the University Library has incorporated ads across the campus buses with digital flyers throughout all of the residence halls, Illini Union, ARC and CRCE. 

After receiving feedback from students, library staff are advertising these changes on social media and utilizing the weekly newsletter that is sent out to all the students. 

“One thing that the University Library wants to convey is that every space is open and anybody’s welcome no matter what department you are in,” Murphy said.


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