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New Service: Reserve Group Study Rooms!

2 March 2007 by Sue Samson

Beginning March 5, UM students will be able to reserve a study room for 2-hour blocks of time up to 2 weeks in advance. Plan ahead for your study times and take advantage of the study rooms on Levels 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Mansfield Library. Reserve study space during the 7 days and 111 open hours provided each week at your library.

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14 Responses to “New Service: Reserve Group Study Rooms!”

  1. Concerned Student Says:

    Will the rooms be locked? I use the rooms all the time when I’m studying in the evenings. There is never any one using them. I don’t know when I am going to have time to study so I can’t really plan ahead to reserve a room.

  2. Sue Samson Says:

    Thanks for sharing your concerns. Yes, the rooms will be locked, but you will immediately be able to check out a key by going to the Information Center on Level 3 and have access to any room that is not already reserved.

  3. Martin August III Says:

    Locking the doors to these rooms is the worst idea ever. Not only is it inconvienient and incondusive to learning it’s also time consuming and irritating. I’d thank you to take one from the UC playbook and simply post the reserved hours, or if you’d like to keep the as-currently-counter-productive online registration idea put small LCD screens on each room that auto-update the reservations as they’re made and unlock electronically with a login.

  4. Sue Samson Says:

    Your comments are appreciated. We have tried to make use of the rooms as easy as going to the Information Center Check Out desk to get a key for an available room. People working at this desk can identify the rooms available as you need one. The study rooms are being reserved to a great extent, and we sincerely hope that this system will provide a consistent way for students to plan their studying.

  5. Troy Chunkapura Says:

    I think this is one of the worst ideas ever implemented. This is a major inconvenience not only to students, but too the Mansfield staff as well. Locking the doors to the study rooms and requiring students to reserve the rooms is outrageous. When I come to the library, I look forward to using available study rooms freely. If I am by myself in a room and a larger group asks to use the room, I respect that and leave. If the rooms are full, I look for open tables and desks. It is a hassle having to sign up for a time to use a room. Many students, including me, cannot predict when and for how long they are going to be in the library. An unforeseen circumstance might arise and the student would not be able to make it to the library on time (losing their time slot). It is also a nuisance being limited to a two hour time slot and having to sign up multiple times, which leads to checking out a key multiple times. During regular, semester hours there usually are available rooms to use. I can see this idea being practical the week before and of finals week, when the rooms are in high demand, but other than that, it is pointless. I think this will actually deter students from choosing the library as their choice of place to study. During finals week this program can have fallout as well. Students can reserve room several weeks in advance making it hard for others who are looking to reserve a room only a week prior to the date. This also takes time away from staff doing other activities to check out keys.
    I just hope the UC is not trying this as well…

  6. Troy Chunkapura Says:

    I agree with what Martin August III said too.

  7. Sue B Says:

    I have found this workable but inconvenient and unwelcoming. It was very unpleasant to come upstairs and find all the doors locked. It is not clear why this new system was needed. Other than finals week, it has always been rare to find all the rooms full. It seems like alot of extra work managing this database and running keys through the front desk for very little actual gain. Doesn’t make sense.

  8. JJ Says:

    I have several comments and suggestions regarding the group study rooms within the library. First, a person may only check a room out for 1, 1.5, and 2 hour increments. This is an inconvenience due to the fact that a person may only need an additional half hour. For example, if I need the room for 2.5 hours, I can only reserve the room for 3 hours if I check the two hour icon first. One suggestion is to add a half hour increment so that the room does not remain vacant for an additional half hour. Secondly, I agree with other comments that state that it is an inconvenience to try and guess when and for how long a person needs the room. I have found myself overestimating the time my group needs to study which results in the room being vacant for the remaining time which could be beneficially used by other students. A suggestion is to allow students, through the webpage with thier scauid id and password, to remove their name from spreadsheet for reserving rooms for the time not needed. A third issue I have is that when you pick up the key at the information desk, you can only check it out for two hours maximum even if the room is reserved to yourself for more. A suggestion is to allow the staff to check the key out for the entire time that the room is registered under your name so that you don’t have to come to the information desk every two hours and check the key in and then back out to yourself. One continuing issue, that I thought the policy of reserving a room would solve, is that the rooms are being utilized by only one person during many times of the day. Even after this policy has been implemented, I can walk by the group study rooms and find only one person using the room in half or more of the rooms available. The rooms purpose is for group studying. This is an even greater problem because the individuals have the room checked out to themselves and you can’t ask them to leave because the spot is full in the database and it would be impolite because they reserved it. Since this policy has been implemented, I have heard numerous people complaining about the inconvenience and innefficiency of reserving group study rooms. A suggestion to solve this is to make half of the rooms within the library available to a first come, first serve basis as the old policy was and keep the other half of the rooms in reserve status. Whatever the library decides to implement, a change is needed from the current standards and procedures.

  9. Bonnie Allen Says:

    The change in policy and our procedures are my responsibility as Dean of the University Libraries. I have been reading the entries of the blog and will think about adjustments we might make in our procedures.

    It seems to be a common misunderstanding that the rooms need to be scheduled in advance when in fact a person can walk in, locate a room and sign up. From the comments in the blog, it would seem that scheduling ahead should NOT be an option and that we should only provide a walk in service.

    Checking rooms out for standard blocks of time (2 hours) is consistent with other standard check out periods for thing like books and reserve. We have allowed renewals if no one else is wanting the room which is why we want student to go to the desk and renew. We have had students request to use the room for the day so they can drop their belongings and come and go. This isn’t the intention of the group study rooms.

    The use of the room by and individual rather than a group, has been a persistent issue no matter what the policy. I do understand that for some, studying in an environment that has fewer distractions is needed and think that it is a legitimate need. If the demand for the rooms for groups reaches a point that is not possible, we can review that policy as well.

  10. Sarah Says:

    Locking the doors to the study rooms is the worst idea the library has ever had. During the first 3 times I checked out a study room, the library staff wasted about 1 hour of my time, which I dont have much of. Your reasons for locking the rooms, as told by your rude staff, are that it is easier and fairer for all to access them. This is ridiculus, I have been using the rooms for years never had any issues. Problem is, since you started this the rooms are used way less. I have not spoken with ANYONE who likes the new system. It is ridiculus, I hope you stop. On the bright side, I love the whiteboards!

  11. Sean Wisner Says:

    I’m posting this in hopes to convince whoever is in charge to return to the unlocked study rooms in the library. I’m a student tutor and use them frequently. Since the new system has been in place i’ve had many problems. One day i reserved a room and it didn’t come up on the computer at the desk. The next time they couldn’t find the key and (after spending several minutes looking for it with me and my tutee standing there waiting) made me reserve another room. After reserving the other room i went down to find people already using it. Irritated, i went back up to reserve yet another room and the lady at the desk insisted on going all the way up to the top floor and kicking them out (against my asking that she simply give me another room) and wasting even more of my and my tutee’s valueable time. Twenty minutes later we were FINNALY able to begin our studying, and a little less able to focus due to the fact that we were both so irritated at the fact that this new system had just wasted twenty minutes of our time. This kid had a test that afternoon and we lost 20 very valuable minutes. PLEASE change it back. 1) It’s silly, 2) It’s an inconvenience to both users and library employees, and 3) the cons heavily outweigh the pros (whatever those may be). Thanks for your time.

  12. Martin August III Says:

    I’m hoping that this policy has been changed for the 08 school year, but from the tone of this dialogue I am guessing it has not. I am curious if there are other venues at which students are praising the changes, which are reinforcing the desire to keep this terrible system.

    Is there some window of time for testing that hasn’t elapsed yet, or are we stuck with this because someone spent the money to make it happen and is unwilling or unable to recognize a bad decision, or has it been proven to increase productivity on another campus? I too am a tutor and the inconvenience of this system makes it less so much less easy to do my own studying, let alone tutoring, that I’ve begun using other warm places to study like the UC, even though they’re less quiet.

    While I realize less than 10 students noting difficulties in a system over the first month it’s in place is hardly a watermark, I have yet to see or hear of anyone who has thought these locked rooms add anything of worth to the academic environment. Was there a clamoring for something to be done about the rampant misuse of these group rooms before this locked door policy was put in place?

    The fact that a student can walk in, find an available room, and retain that room in between one and twenty minutes is great, but prior to the doors being locked a student could walk in, find an available room and retain that room in five seconds. By locking the doors there has been nothing gained in terms of ease of availability to students. Though there may have been a significant gain in the availability of the information of a room’s status from anywhere, that doesn’t save students already on campus any time. Rooms are still used without reservations (in some cases resulting in extra time wasted, as Sean’s account mentions), and often students will not use their entire allotted time. This leaves erroneous information to view on the web, making the rooms unusable for others anyway.

    Before these rooms were locked students did not leave their bags in them all day, so the requests for that usage of the rooms is only evidence that the wrong idea has been sent via this policy. Going to the front desk for renewal may only take two minutes, and the optimistic among us may see those two minutes as time to stretch your legs and have a bathroom break, but it is generally more hassle than anything else. If this system were modularized such that I could slide my GrizCard or enter my scauid at the door, it would be much less invasive and more effective in tracking the room’s status.

    Since an unintrusive system is unlikely at best and there has been no positive public feedback here, I don’t understand the desire for the Mansfield to continue down this path that is clearly unsupported by the students who have participated in the feedback on it.

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