Student struggle to find study space as they await a new library


Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez

Construction equipment on the Simmons academic quad between the Main College Building and Lefavour Hall, which formerly housed Beatley Library.

Alaina Karcher, Contributing Writer

Since Beatley Library’s relocation to Building C during the One Simmons project, students who frequented the quiet space are looking elsewhere on campus to find new study spaces.

To compensate for the limited studying space while the new library is under construction, Simmons has put aside a number of rooms which students can reserve. Reservations can be made through 25Live, an event scheduling system where users can request space on campus for academic or non-academic events.

However, some students, such as Megan White, feel uncomfortable navigating 25Live.

“It’s so confusing,” says White, a senior and art history major at Simmons. “I don’t think I’ve figured it out yet. I’ve tried to make bookings on there before, and I think I’ve made a couple of successful ones, but it always feels so weird having to do it that way.”

25Live offers booking for a variety of spaces, which includes small classrooms to accommodate one person or larger groups and conference rooms for events with larger parties. Users have a maximum of two hours in each approved space.

But White, who says she used Beatley regularly for studying and research purposes, worries about the unnecessary room that students have when forced to book a larger space.

“I’ve tried to book study rooms before, but they’re always full because there aren’t that many of them. The only options left are 10-person conference rooms, which feels a little excessive for one person studying or one person [in] a Zoom meeting.”

Isabella Manzi, a senior nursing student at Simmons, usually reserves a room every other week through 25Live. Before the location change, Mazi said she used the library two to three times a week for studying.

“I booked a six-person study room just for myself,” says Manzi, “could someone else have used it who needed the larger study space? Probably. But it’s the only thing I had available.”

Beatley’s Library Service Guide also contains a guide of open study spaces that don’t require reservations. Open study areas include such as Common Grounds Cafe, the Fens Cafe, hallways, lobbies, and ground floor lounge areas.

These areas contain a variety of tables and seating along with access to power outlets. However, Manzi feels these open spaces are not sufficient for student needs.

“It’s really hard to find seating in Common Grounds or the COMM Wing just because everyone is everywhere because there’s nowhere else for us to go.”

As a commuter student from Mission Hill, Manzi relies on study spaces to complete her schoolwork. Rather than waiting 20 to 30 minutes for a bus to go home after one class and returning later, she’ll stay on campus to get more work done.

However, Manzi explains that Common Grounds and other communal study areas are unsuitable for student needs since they can get loud, making it difficult to concentrate on school work.

A lack of library space has left some students concerned about places to study, but there is a new library on the way. Library Director Vivienne Piroli says she looks forward to welcoming Simmons students into a space where they might study with more ease.

“There will be many more group study rooms. We’ve also increased the variety of seating so that we have soft seating, we have tables and chairs, we’ll have round tables and chairs. There’s a lot more nooks and niche-kind seatings throughout.”

According to Piroli, the new library will exist on two different floors and in two different buildings. There will be two entrances: the main entrance in Lefavour Hall and a new entrance from Building A, the Main College Building.

Piroli says her understanding of the library’s reopening is spring 2022; she says occupancy in the library would be unsafe until construction finishes in the Lefavour Building.

Floor plan and renderings of the new library are available through Beatley Library’s website.