Expand and improve Emerson#039;s Library

by Beacon Staff • December 6, 2006

Our view: A good library is at the cornerstone of an academic institution

With finals week coming up, many students will be hitting the books in a mad rush to digest as much information as possible. The temptations and distractions of dorm rooms and apartments will undoubtedly force the more studious here to migrate to the library.,At issue: The Emerson College library is too small.

Our view: A good library is at the cornerstone of an academic institution

With finals week coming up, many students will be hitting the books in a mad rush to digest as much information as possible. The temptations and distractions of dorm rooms and apartments will undoubtedly force the more studious here to migrate to the library.

When they get there, however, they may find that they wished they stayed home.

As outlined in a new evaluation by library directors from other colleges, Emerson's library is lacking in almost every department.

Emerson College's library currently has a meager 152 seats, well below what library directors feel is acceptable.

Their recommendation says that 10-20 percent of the student body should be able to sit in the library, whereas Emerson can seat only 5 percent.

Emerson students may not know much math, but they can count, quite simply, more seats are a necessity.

The cramped conditions create an environment not suitable for quiet study. Students routinely complain about the crowded space and excessive noise.

The problems with Emerson's library are amplified when compared to neighboring academic institutions.

Suffolk University, for example, which has a comparable student population, has a library that puts ours to shame.

The Mildred F. Sawyer Library, the main library serving both the graduate and undergraduate population at Suffolk, spans three floors and has 250 window seats alone.

Flat-screen televisions on every floor show MSNBC and CNN.

There are 20 group study rooms, all equipped with DVD/VHS playback systems.

While Emerson subscribes to less than 700 periodicals, the Suffolk library orders more than 900. Suffolk students even enjoy an entire level dedicated to quiet study, ottomans and even a working fireplace.

This comparison is even more relevant when you consider that Suffolk students are offered free daily copies of the nation's leading newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In contrast, Emerson students can only borrow one of a limited number of these papers from the reserve desk.

Comparisons to other college libraries in Massachusetts yield similarly frustrating results.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst has more than three million volumes of books, a caf