Student Life

Revamped Library Is Now A Communal Hang-Out Spot


Photographed by Sanjana Ahmed: Fifth floor Hunter College library

With the opening of the fifth-floor library in the East Building, many Hunter College students looked forward to an updated and aesthetically-pleasing study spot. Sadly, the reality is quite different, students said. 

Open to students and faculty since the fall of 2023, the fifth floor of the Toby and Leon Cooperman Library had undergone a complete overhaul. With a variety of seating types across the floor, this section of the library was initially meant to be a quiet study location for students.

However, a quick walk around the floor showed that most people treat it more as a hang-out spot than anything else, despite Public Safety Officers patrolling the area and hushing rowdy students.

“My feeling is that although it’s not ideal, a certain level of noise and hanging out is tolerated on five because of the lack of seating/hang-out space across the college, combined with our desire to encourage students to visit and feel welcome in the library,” said Research Services Librarian Dorian Onifer. “That of course, must be balanced with the need for quiet and silent places for students to study in the library, which are available on other floors.”

Each floor of the seven-story building has its own specific purpose. Specifically, B1 and B2 are the silent study floors, the third floor is for quiet studying, the fourth and seventh are for group study, and the fifth and sixth floors have no particular distinction regarding studying type according to the Hunter Library website

“It’s nice and pretty after all those renovations,” said senior Chrissie Mar. “It’s just very loud and crowded so I don’t really find myself going there to study or get work done.”

Photographed by Sanjana Ahmed: Students talking on the fifth floor Hunter library

The physical environment of the fifth floor does not contribute to a good study environment.

“I didn’t really feel like there was a lot of good seating for studying,” said Mar.

The plush booths and seating, along with low tables, isn’t conducive to studying, she said.

“It’s honestly more of a place where I see people chatting and hanging out than studying,” said Mar. 

Aside from the noise, other students have concerns about the cleanliness of the floor.

“I’m afraid of bedbugs,” said junior Vivien Garpestad.

After last year’s fiasco where the West Building lecture halls were reported to be infested with the insects, Garpestad said that she had her own experience with them that left her afraid of any plush seatings. 

Garpestad said she took a nap when on one of the couches in the lounges at the school and woke up to a line of bites along her ankle.

“I was just really freaked out about that so I try to avoid sitting on things with fabric on campus,” said Garpestad.

She is not a fan of the new library. 

“I always see people napping on the couches, playing around, laughing,” said Garpestad. “It almost feels like high school.”

Garpestad said she often saw people getting loud to the point of being told to be quiet by others, or even Public Safety officers, only to start back up again.

“It felt like a lack of maturity that reminded me of how high schoolers act during their lunch period,” said Garpestad.

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