JMU’s campus is a broad area that’s constantly growing and embarking on renovations. Currently, JMU has two libraries — Carrier on Main Campus and Rose on East Campus — that are used by most of the student population. This lets students choose a study space close to their classes.
With Carrier Library closing from 2023 to 2026 for renovations, Rose will be the only functioning library on campus. This will inevitably lead to overcrowding in other buildings such as the Student Success Center and Madison Union, and it’ll potentially decrease student productivity. JMU needs to plan for and prioritize new study spaces for students in order to compensate for the loss of the space from Carrier.
Carrier Library, originally built in 1939, was the first stand-alone library on campus. Since then, it’s received many renovations as the campus capacity increases annually, with a 97% rise in off-campus enrollment from 10,822 in fall 1987 to 21,270 in fall 2016 according to JMU’s Office of Institutional Research. The primary incentives for the renovations starting this May are concerns about accessibility, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, navigability and overcrowding.
Though these modifications hold long-term benefits for students in the future, the next few years will be difficult for some. Due to schedules and proximity, Carrier is a primary study space for many students and can facilitate well over 350 students, its original capcity. Junior Baylor Wood frequents Carrier.
“I like the atmosphere of the library because seeing other people study motivates me to be more productive and overall it’s more quiet than other spaces,” Wood said. “It’s also close to my classes so I like to go there in between.”
There’s a critical need for college campuses to have an abundant amount of study spaces for students, as it’s shown that students demonstrate more academic success when they take advantage of the library space and resources. Libraries offer various resources that students can benefit from. They also allow students to get in a productive headspace in a quiet place rather than in a bedroom, which is often non-stimulating and offers several distractions, like watching TV. According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, students who specifically use their beds to study are often set up for failure as the temptation to sleep or multi-task increases. Woods said she often finds herself distracted when trying to work at home.
“I’m usually pretty good at doing work at my desk, but I would say I still get more distracted because of my roommates and will end up talking with them instead of doing work,” Wood said.
Along with the importance of productivity, library resources are included in tuition. Students pay thousands of dollars a year to be able to use these study spaces and resources. Online resources will still be available during the renovations, but that won’t make up for the lack of space. During this time, JMU will only have one active library at a school that’s had over 20,000 students since 2016. While JMU has said it plans to open up more spaces for students during this process, administration needs to make sure it can accommodate the overflowing demand.
Contact Oriana Lukas at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the opinion desk on Instagram and Twitter @Breeze_Opinion.