Butler students have the option to utilize study rooms in Irwin Library to attend online Zoom classes

Students will be able to reserve study rooms in Irwin library for attending their online classes. Collegian file photo.

SARAH MAHNESMITH | STAFF REPORTER | smahnesmith@butler.edu

Irwin Library announced a new registration system for reserving both individual and group study rooms that Butler students may utilize for virtual class space. Because of concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, capacity for these areas has been modified for increased social distancing. 

Additionally, the reservation process differs from that which students utilized in previous years.  Beginning on Sept. 2, students may use the rooms for the limited hours that Irwin Library will be open. 

Joel Atkinson, Butler’s information commons librarian, shared the main difference between study rooms in the past and this year due to COVID-19 concerns.  

In prior years, the study rooms in the library could hold anywhere between one to eight students.  However, in response to COVID-19, these areas will now only have the capacity for one or two individuals, Atkinson said.  

There are a total of 13 study rooms available in Irwin Library, which students may utilize for online Zoom classes or studying. Seven of these spaces are intended for single students, while the other six rooms are considered “group study rooms” and may be occupied by two people at a time. 

Reservations for these areas may be made up to a week in advance and are available in one hour increments, with a maximum reservation time of four hours per day, per student.  

The need for social distancing may make it difficult for students to work together in small groups in the study rooms, as the library has seen in the past, but extra precautions must be taken in order to avoid the spread of the virus. Atkinson spoke of additional measures his team took to increase safety for students.  

“While in the study rooms, students are required to keep the doors open in order to allow air flow and ventilation,” Atkinson said. “Also, we will not be using keys for the rooms this year.  Students will make a reservation online and will show up to the room at their reserved time.  This eliminates the possible spread of the virus.”

Sally Neal, associate dean for instruction and user services, advises students who wish to make use of these spaces to “get in [the online system] and reserve it right away,” as there are far fewer spaces in the library than students on campus. 

Neal also is excited about the new registration process for students, as she said the system is more user-friendly than in the past. While reservations are currently online, Neal spoke of the future plans the library has in order to make access easier for all.

“I’m hopeful that on the doors themselves there will be a QR code, so that if you come up to a study room and it is empty, you could click on that QR code and it’ll take you to the website to see if it is being used right now,” Neal said. “If it’s not, you could just reserve it.”

This year, an updated online system replaced the old reservation process for the study rooms in the library. Students can now navigate to butler.libcal.com/reserve to view available rooms and times. Dry erase board and marker kits are also available for check out while students are in the study rooms, and can be located at the library’s main desk.  

With only a select number of rooms available in Irwin Library, students have expressed their concerns about the need for additional areas to study.  

Alyssa McKillip, a first-year biology student, voiced her worries regarding where to find space to work.  

“It’s going to be tricky to reserve a week in advance, especially if you don’t know if you’re going to need the room or not,” McKillip said. “It would be nice as a first-year student to know additional quiet places where you are not going to get distracted and that can be used for a study space.”

Other first-year students at Butler have expressed similar concerns about study locations around campus. Without the experience from previous years, these newcomers face difficulties finding a secluded place to complete work.  

Sophomore psychology major DJ Messman offers his advice to those looking for areas to learn outside of Irwin Library.  

“If it is nice outside, spend time studying outdoors,” Messman said. “Lots of students use hammocks and Zoom or do work in a quiet spot outside.”  

Additionally, Neal advised students to take advantage of the spaces available in Jordan Hall when academic buildings are reopened on Monday, September 7. JH 201, 203, 205, 207, 208, 216, 220, 225, 301, 303, 305, 307, 335A, 335B, 336B, 336C, 337, 338, 340, 342, 344, 346, 348 (computer lab), 370, and 372 will be open for late night studying from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM.  These rooms may be reserved via EMS (online room booking system).

Students must bring their Butler ID with them in order to monitor the amount of individuals in the building at one time. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes can be found throughout the library and should be used by students utilizing the study room in order for this environment to remain safe for everyone. 

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