Share The Sojourner Truth

Cartoon by Stefanie Diers.

Deadlines are important.

We, as journalists, know this firsthand.

But regardless of your area of study, turning in assignments late in college is often unacceptable. While renovating a building obviously incurs more work than most homework, a deadline is a deadline.

We at The New Paltz Oracle are disappointed to inform our readers that the renovations of the Sojourner Truth Library at SUNY New Paltz will not be completed until the end of this semester. Library operations are set to be fully restored by the spring semester, according to Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management John Shupe.

We are equally concerned that we, as students, were not alerted of this news in a campus-wide announcement. This follows suit to a lack of transparency already seen this semester concerning the library project.

Last semester, Library Dean Mark Colvson posted helpful and frequent updates to his blog to keep the campus community informed of the work being done. This semester, however, there have been no updates. The last post on this blog that indicated progress was posted on May 12.

In a post on May 7, we were loosely promised a new, spacious and light-filled library before this semester’s final exams, if all went as planned. As of this moment, it seems that this semester’s finals week will mark the fifth major exam period in a row that students have not had access to a full library.

The fact that these updates surrounding the renovations have stopped is concerning. Unexpected delays happen in construction and sometimes there is nothing that can be done but push back the completion date if the work is to be done properly.

We also understand that the building must be built to code and all safety precautions should be followed, which of course takes time. That being said, the community should be kept informed in a timely manner about changes to the schedule or the project itself either through the dean’s blog or emails from administration.

Despite this, the problems that students face due to limited space in the library is a current and ongoing reality.

Many students go to the library for a quiet place to study. If they are not involved in a club with an office or have difficulty studying in their dorm, the library is the go-to place for these students. The space currently available next to the stacks is quite small when you consider the size of the student population. Furthermore, when people use this space for group work, the silence is broken.

The College Terrace was opened around finals last semester for late night studying, but students need and expect a quiet area at anytime in the semester and not just when everyone else is looking for one too. We feel that if the Terrace is not being used for other purposes, it should be made available for quiet studying throughout the semester.

The problems posed from limited space in the library are ultimately not going to be solved until the library is fully accessible once again. From speaking with our peers, we can say that this is a shared frustration.

Students have been anticipating the new, well-lit and spacious library since the new features were announced a year ago. Computerized group study rooms and an updated layout will be beneficial to all (who are still here when it opens).

Although the tentative opening date for the library has been pushed to next semester, we hope that construction will finish a few weeks early and the promise made last semester to have it open by finals week can be kept.

Editorials represent the views of the majority of the editorial board. Columns, op-eds and letters, excluding editorials, are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.