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Library renovations address study and research needs

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Thomas Urell
t.urell [at]
(617) 373-2821

Students studying at the Digital Media Commons in Snell Library. - See more at:

Photo by Books Canaday, story by Joe O'Connell. Originally published in the News @ Northeastern February 18, 2014.

Gaurav Gan­wani, DMSB’17, is one of many North­eastern stu­dents taking advan­tage of the new col­lab­o­ra­tive study areas at Snell Library, including the 23 group study rooms added to the first floor last summer.

“I def­i­nitely get more group work done here,” said Gan­wani, a finance major. “I really like the new layout and the upgraded technologies.”

The new group study rooms are part of Snell Library’s two- year trans­for­ma­tion to address the need for greater access to edu­ca­tional tech­nology; addi­tional study spaces; and new, inno­v­a­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties for teaching and learning.

In the fall of 2012, North­eastern opened the Dig­ital Media Com­mons, an inno­v­a­tive media lab and dig­ital cre­ativity center located on the second floor of the library. Since then, North­eastern has expanded the cutting- edge work­space to include a 3- D printing studio.

The expan­sion of the DMC is also reflected in two other ini­tia­tives: new fourth floor study spaces reserved specif­i­cally for grad­uate stu­dents; and the cre­ation, on the second floor, of the Dig­ital Schol­ar­ship Commons—an inte­grated ser­vice point for fac­ulty, doc­toral stu­dents, and others to access a range of high- level ser­vices for dig­ital schol­ar­ship, teaching, and research.

More than 200 seats have been added to Snell Library in the last two years, including 80 new seats in tra­di­tional fur­ni­ture on the third floor and 86 seats on the fourth floor. More than 40 seats were added to the library’s first and second floors, including the group study rooms and new informal study spaces with modern fur­ni­ture, which offers a range of seating and desk options.

So far this aca­d­emic year, the number of visits to Snell increased 4 per­cent as com­pared to the pre­vious year. Uni­ver­sity Libraries Dean William Wakeling said the increase is an example of North­eastern stu­dents’ ded­i­ca­tion to their work.

“I think there is just an increasing inten­sity in stu­dent studying on campus,” he said. “There is demand for more study space campus- wide and we are doing our bit to respond by offering a variety of unique options.”

In December, the North­eastern Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion admin­is­tered its annual budget pri­ority survey, which gives the SGA feed­back from stu­dents on what they want to see on campus.

When asked which floor in the library was their favorite for studying, 36 per­cent of some 1,500 respon­dents picked the third floor, which has many large group tables and indi­vidual cubicles.

Some stu­dents said there needed to be more indi­vidual study spaces on the first floor and noted that its new couches are not con­ducive to long study sessions.

“Over­whelm­ingly stu­dents said they need more indi­vidual study space,” said SGA Pres­i­dent Nick Naraghi, CIS’15.

Jack Sun, DMSB’17, said he thinks the ren­o­va­tions have made the library more com­fort­able. “It looks much better than before,” Son said, while sit­ting on one of the new couches on Snell’s first floor. “I like it as it is now.”

According to the survey, 77 per­cent of stu­dents said the library is their No.1 study spot, fol­lowed by res­i­den­tial halls and the Curry Stu­dent Center. “I think stu­dents really like to be in the library,” Naraghi said. “And it’s nice because there is plenty of group space, there are plenty of resources, and there is just a cul­ture of going there to study.”

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