Reading room redesigned into new office


An office is being built for the new Director of Library Services Clara Ogbaa, but to do so, one of the library’s reading rooms is being taken away.

Hired without an office, she said the university assured she would be given one. They then had to decide where they were going to put it.

“Efforts were made to identify adequate space that wouldn’t involve a lot of money for renovation and be easily accessible to students, faculty, and staff,” said Ogbaa.

With cost being a factor, it led the university to decide to convert a fourth floor reading room into her new office. Robert Sheeley, associate vice president of capital budgeting and facilities operations, said the whole project will cost less than $10,000.

“Basically, it’s building walls, new lighting, and put some ceiling pads in, and that’s about it,” said Sheeley. “It’s not a very involved project, from our perspective.”

The project is set to be complete within the next couple of weeks pending any inclement weather or some other major delay.

Sheeley also said the cost of the project would be kept down since the university is using its own builders.

“We have some quality carpenters and electricians, but we can’t just drop everything and do it because we’re servicing the rest of the campus,” said Sheeley. “So, we’re hitting it when we can hit it, to get it done. That means it takes a lot longer, but the costs are significantly lower.”

Another concern was taking the room away from those using the library. Ogbaa said she fought to not take the space away, but the chosen reading room was least used by students.

Ogbaa faces a problem with her space on the first floor since she is not accessible to students due to her door being locked, she said.

If it was up to her, she would have chosen to be on the first floor in one of the glass study rooms.

“We call it the fish bowl, you know those rooms we have near the reference desk? Ideally, I would’ve loved one of those rooms to be where I am, so that students, faculty, everybody will see where their director is,” said Ogbaa.

Lea Crawford, an art education major, said it would make more sense to put the office on the first floor instead of the fourth since students do not spend a lot of time on that level.

“I think it’s pointless to have that on the fourth floor, when they could turn one of these glass rooms into the office space. Especially because it’s where everybody is and where everything goes on,” said Crawford.

Lorette Feivelson, a history secondary education major, said it might be a loss for some students.

“Even though I personally don’t use them, some people really need quiet to work and work best in that environment,” said Feivelson.

While Sheeley said it is not an easy decision, it came down to Ogbaa needing to have an office that was suitable to her position.

“Our priority is always to make as much space available to our students,” said Sheeley “I mean, that’s what we’re here for. That’s what we’re all about, but she needs space, and there was no office space for her.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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