New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Opinion: Bobst’s construction is too disruptive for studying

Between taking away places to study and making it hard to focus in class, construction in the library is doing students more harm than good.
A+wall+covered+with+purple+wallpaper+and+text+saying+%E2%80%9CREIMAGINING+THE+LIBRARY%E2%80%99S+FIRST+FLOOR%E2%80%9D+above+%E2%80%9CMID-OCTOBER+2023.%E2%80%9D
Krish Dev
The first floor of Bobst Library. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The first week of classes is typically a favorite among students, as assignments tend to be lighter and exams are still months away. For the unlucky students who already have labs or research papers due these first few days, however, the fluorescent lighting and high ceilings of Bobst Library have already become familiar.

Unfortunately for them, the university turned the library’s first floor into a construction ground following an Aug. 15 announcement that it would be remodeled. Students are finding it difficult to focus on their responsibilities, whether it’s taking notes in class or grinding out a week’s worth of readings, due to the loud, irritating noises caused by the construction.

Almost anyone who has a class in Bobst can attest to their love-hate relationship with the library, but what really makes students lean toward hate is losing concentration every couple minutes because of random banging and annoying screeching. These disruptive distractions pull students’ focus away from their lectures, making it impossible to prepare coherent thoughts for discussions, let alone hear what others are saying.

Not only can you hear the construction in the lower-level classrooms, but also in the atrium and second floor. These spaces are where many students find themselves between classes trying to study or get a jumpstart on homework. Now, they can’t really get anything done with all the noise.

The timing of the construction project could also have been better planned. The library sat virtually empty during the summer, which would have made the remodel much less disruptive to students. Instead, the university chose to wait until the month before classes to make changes to the first floor.

Even if construction during the semester was unavoidable, it could at least be completed outside of typical class hours. The university seems to always be working on one project or another, but considering how many people use the library everyday, it could have been more considerate about when construction might be disruptive.

Despite its size and popularity, Bobst is arguably one of the worst study spots on campus, given how busy it always is. Construction is making it more difficult for students to find a place to do work in the already usually crowded building, with study space on the first floor cut down to only the library’s atrium. I don’t know about you, but the study area and lounge on the first floor were my go-to spots for interviews, collaborative projects and catch-ups with friends. Now, I’m left scrambling for a seat.

Navigation within the library, too, is made more difficult by the ongoing construction project. If you’re like me, you hate how long the Bobst elevators take to come during class change, so you end up taking the stairs. Now, you’ve lost this option. Access to the stairs is completely closed off, leaving students to stand awkwardly until the next elevator arrives. Who knows? At that point, you might even miss the start of your class.

Libraries tend to create a conducive environment for studying, learning and, in some ways, being social, but the construction detracts from that. Let’s be honest, the temporary purple walls blocking off the gallery and study lounge are not as picturesque as the geometric steel bars lining each floor. The ambiance within the space is off now, for more than one reason.

The construction on Bobst’s first floor is a nagging pain that could have been avoided with a little bit of forethought on the part of NYU. The university could still have its construction project and improve the library without any detriment to students’ learning if it timed construction in a way that put their needs first.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].

About the Contributors
Molly Koch, Opinion Editor
Molly Koch is a junior in Gallatin concentrating in journalism as an art form. They’re fascinated by classical literature and its influence on the power of the written word. When they are not writing, you can find them reading their way through their endless TBR, running along the Hudson or Facetiming their dog.
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with the other Multimedia Editors, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.
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