After the announcement of a study that a comfortable environment makes good efficiency, many companies are already working to create comfortable environments so that their employees can work more efficiently. Further, this move by companies is also spreading to libraries in universities. Many universities in Korea, in particular, encourage students to read in a comfortable and cozy environment by transforming libraries from places with a traditional, institutional atmosphere to multi-cultural spaces. However, unlike other universities, whose libraries have become reading-friendly environments, Chung-ang University's central library still has a rigid atmosphere.
The Problems of Chung-Ang University's Central Library
Air quality problem
The Academic Information Center, which manages the central library of Chung-Ang University, receives the number of complaints about the air quality during each term-test period. This is because a small increase in temperature results in a greenhouse effect and difficulty of ventilation under the structure of the glass, which is compounded by many students flocking to the small library during term-test periods. The institute has responded to the students' complaints, saying they are trying to solve the problem by continuously operating air conditioners and additional air purifiers. On August 21, according to the investigation by Chung-ang Herald, however, a total of 8 air purifiers were installed for all reading rooms and notebook rooms, which can accommodate a total of 1,951 people. In other words, only about 0.004 air purifiers per student are currently in use at the central library. As there are various complaints about the quality of air in the library from the students’ community, the air quality problem has not yet been resolved.
Reading rooms at 4th Floor in a Rainy Day
As the library is not only a place for reading but also for many students to study, the noise problem in the reading room is very serious. On rainy days, in particular, the reading rooms on the 4th floor of the central library have a lot of noise problems. On a heavy rain day, the sound of rain drops hitting the ceiling is transmitted directly to students using the reading room on the 4th floor. Despite its duties to provide an environment where students can concentrate, the central library is hindering their concentration.
There is another problem with the reading room on the 4th floor. Every time it rains, many students using the 4th reading room have complained about water leakage. While the university has been working hard to solve the problem by carrying out repairs on ceiling leaks during the vacation and even during the semester, students still do not think that the problem is solved.
A Shortage of Rest Facilities
Facilities for rest in the central library are also noticeably lacking. Currently, the only places students can talk freely in the central library are the rooftop of the library and sofas next to the stairs. However, in case of rooftops, students are restricted from entering the building at night due to safety concerns. Therefore, the only actual rest facilities in the central library are sofas next to the stairs. However, even these sofas are not very far from the reading room on each floor, often causing conflicts between students talking on the sofas next to the stairs and students studying in the reading rooms during the term-test. Finally, there is no comfortable environment to subscribe to magazines. Only hard chairs are available to students now.
Air Conditioner Problems in the Library
This year, especially when the heat was severe, there were many conflicts among reading room users regarding air conditioners in the library. Currently, students are allowed to adjust the temperature of the air conditioner themselves using air conditioner remote controls on each floor. However, it has caused conflicts between students who are cold and students who are trying to cool down.
This is not the only problem with air conditioners in the library. Seats located just below or near the air conditioner are significantly more affected by the air conditioner wind than other seats. This means that they are cold in summer and hot in winter, and this makes many students not choose those seats. However, if there are no extra seats, students are forced to use those seats. For this reason, some students requested to install a wind shield on the air conditioners to solve the problem at the students’ community. However, Academic Information Center and facility teams answered students that they do not plan to install the wind shields at air-conditioner since they will not only cause inefficiency in cooling and heating, but also cause additional damage of dew falling on them, especially in summer.
Comparison of CAU Library with Loyola Library at Sogang University
Sogang University is known for its narrow campus site. Likewise, even though the Loyola Library (which is 13,901m2), the central library of Sogang University, consists of 3 sections, it is smaller than the central library of CAU (which is 14,258.2m2). However, the Loyola Library is famous for its efficient use of space and its change from a traditional rigid library to a multi-cultural space. The Chung-Ang Herald interviewed 2 Sogang University students to find out how satisfied they were with Loyola Library.
1. Are you satisfied with the environment at Loyola Library? If you are, which aspects of the library make you satisfied?
Lee: I am satisfied with Loyola library. First, there are a lot more books compared to other universities. Also, in the Thinking Forest on the 2nd floor of Loyola Library, comfortable sofas and partition desks have been installed to allow students to concentrate on their work.
Hyeon: I like the Thinking Forest in section 1 and the "Mandertha Zone in section 3 in the Loyola Library. Unlike other reading rooms with a tight, blocked feeling, these two offer a relaxing atmosphere. Before, I felt that libraries were a place for studying, with a stark atmosphere. However, after I found those places, they became a place for relaxation. In particular, the warm lighting in the library makes me feel more comfortable.
2. Are there any problems with air quality, leaks of water or noise problems at the Loyola Library?
Lee: The Loyola Library has too much heat in the winter, so the air is a little stuffy. But I think this is inevitable, considering the cold days in winter. I don't think there are any other problems besides the heating system.
Hyeon: Right after remodeling the 'Thinking Forest', it was uncomfortable to use because of the paint odor, but it's been resolved. Also, since many students are trying to minimize the noise while using the library, there is no noise problem, either.
Due to the limitations of the building's volume, the Central University Library cannot provide more amenities than other schools' libraries. However, there is a case like Sogang University where a library has been transformed into something different by using space efficiently. In fact, the issues mentioned above have been raised over and over. Instead of dismissing these problems, claiming space and budgetary reasons are limiting solutions, the school administration as well as the academic information center should now work together to provide solutions with which students can be satisfied.< 저작권자 © 중앙헤럴드 무단전재 및 재배포금지 >