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Construction at Richter Library disturbs patrons

Imagine sitting at your desk, tending to your daily agenda, when suddenly construction workers cart wheelbarrows full of manure through your office.

Believe it or not, that is what happened to Jane Schillie, Head of Reference and Instructional Services at Richter Library, in her third floor office.

“I guess it was just a design flaw,” Schillie said.

The construction workers could only access the balcony either by entering through her office or through Head Librarian Don Bosseau’s office, Schillie said.

“I’m looking forward to February 2003 when it will all be completed,” Schillie said.

But what exactly are construction workers doing at Richter Library?

“I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Iruma Bello, a senior majoring in psychology. “It looks nicer, but in terms of the space, it doesn’t seem to be getting better. It’s more confusing because they keep moving stuff around.”

“We have to operate as if things are normal when clearly they’re not,” Bosseau said. “You go one place looking for a book and then it’s not there three months later.”

The main problem, Bosseau said, is the lack of a “staging area.” Without any expansions going on, the materials have to be moved from one place to another as different parts of the building are renovated.

“I’ve been through these demolition/construction before and people can get restless, especially after it’s been going on for a couple of years,” Bosseau said. “But it should be finished within the year.”

The staff at Richter said the students seemed very understanding when construction first began, but now it seems to be wearing on their patience.

“I think [the construction]is a good idea,” said Bill Rehkamp, a junior majoring in psychology. “It doesn’t bother me. It does get loud inside when using the computers though.”

Earplugs are available at the reference desks for library patrons bothered by the noise, Schillie said.

“[Even] the librarians find the construction frustrating,” said Fiona Kelleghan, a librarian at Richter since 1989. “But mainly because we want to provide an atmosphere hospitable to research and reading.”

“We all hope that the students won’t carry away a bad feeling of studying here,” Kelleghan said.

The renovations include making the building compliant for the disabled; improving the aesthetics of the building; updating all of the wiring and electrical infrastructure of the building; and adding group study rooms that can be reserved by students with group projects.

“Group study rooms are the hottest library item across the nation right now,” said Bosseau. “The ones that we have opened up have been booked morning to night.”

The group study rooms will be equipped with ports to connect laptops to the Internet, Bosseau said.

“Other than the computers, nothing has really been done to improve the library for the students,” said Yenisey Yanes, a senior biology major. “They haven’t done anything in the stacks and they need to put new chairs in. That’s all I want-new chairs.”

Over spring break, Schillie said she believes two of the floors in the stacks will be painted and when the entire project is completed, there will be new comfortable, upholstered chairs.

“This construction is cosmetic,” Schillie said, “but we need to solve the problem that we will be running out of book space in three to five years.”

March 1, 2002

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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