Friday, February 25

GVSU abandons all hope at current library

Last winter, Grand Valley State University announced that they would be building a new, $70 million library called the Mary Idema Pew Library (MIP Library, lolz). It is set to open in 2013 (a year after I graduate), and will basically be the greatest library on earth. It features five floors, an automatic retrieval system for books, a genius bar (whatever that means), a tunnel to Kirkhof, a rooftop concourse, thirty study rooms and of course it is LEED Platinum Certified. Watch the slick little PR video below that manages to hit a record number of eduacation, diversity and GVSU buzzwords.

This is all great. We do need a new library. Since the current one was built, GVSU has added 19,000 students and computers have been invented. But it would seem that all this commotion about the MIP has taken a serious toll on the current library.

The Zumberge Library is nothing more than an ugly concrete bunker. It is easy to see why a new library is being built. However, that does not give GVSU reason to ignore it. If you have a paper to print, good luck with your arduous task. There are four floors on the library, with one printer per floor. There are about 16 computers per floor where you can log in and print. For a school of 24,000, having this few computers is unacceptable. Before class, there are traffic jams of people waiting for an open computer to print a research paper, while Suzy hogs those old Dells and watches Glee. These monstrosities are clearly outdated. Logging in should not take more than five minutes, and Word should not take more than two minutes to load.

Once you finally do get a computer and pull up your paper, you must find a working printer. The printer on the main floor, which is set up as an express printing station, is broken and has been almost the entire year. Recently, the second floor printer shut down as well. I have not ventured to the fourth floor, as the steep, narrow steps require mountain climbing gear to scale, but I'm sure they have had a fair share of problems. So that means almost all documents are sent to the poor third floor printer, creating a massive surge of papers, all mixed up. It becomes a game to try and grab your paper out of the printer while three other people jockey for position around you. I recently paid over $400 for one credit hour, yet they refuse to fix or replace two printers? Maybe they should have held off on the new flat screen TV that only plays CNN and saved that money for repair costs.

If you are in the library to study, bring a lawn chair and leave your laptop at home. There are virtually no open tables and chairs to sit in, and outlets for electricity are non-existent, save for a few Macgyvered surge protectors that only reach a few tables. There is no place for group work, which is ironic, considering the liberal arts education model relies so heavily on working in groups.

In today's world, students at GVSU use the library for three purposes; to print, to study and to do group work. The lack of working printers, seats, tables, outlets and open computers all make those tasks very difficult. And these problems could all be easily fixed. Add more tables.Toss in a few extension cords. Get new computers. Purchase a working printer. Just because a new library is eminent does not mean current students must be overlooked. We pay too much money to see "OUT OF ORDER" signs all over everything. All I ask for is a functioning library, not an exhibit on how the Detroit Public Schools operate.

By Aaron Brandt, who is undoubtedly paying for a library he will never use and a library that doesn't work.