Skip to main content

University Libraries

Which Floor is Yours?

By Katy Kelly

Arriving at a large building for the first time is anxiety-inducing for many. Imagine your first time at a new-to-you airport or doctor’s office. Adding in preconceived notions of how you should behave, such as being quiet in a library, can add another layer to those feelings. Also, how about we sprinkle in some school and life-related stress? 

The systems and structures of a college campus are daunting to navigate. Uncertainty and anxiety are real and relatable feelings that many students face every day. To acknowledge these hurdles, University Libraries faculty and staff have student success in the forefront of their daily work. Our collective goal is to make navigating library resources — collections, services and spaces — easier for all students.

To address student uncertainty about our seven-story library building, we launched a preference-selecting quiz called “Which Floor is Yours?” where students can select their ideal furniture, amenities and noise levels to find the perfect library location for them. Over 150 participants have found suggested destinations in Roesch Library. 

cartoon of the Roesch Library building

Take the quiz!

What Spaces Do Students Like?

So far, the vast majority of quiz takers say they prefer background noise and like being able to talk while working. They don’t mind hearing people talking or walking by. There’s still a pretty big group of silence lovers, though, which definitely sets the library (specifically the sixth floor) apart from other campus spaces. 

In terms of furniture, big tables win out so students can spread out their work or study with a friend. Other respondents share that they’d like to use a library computer or hook their laptop up to one of our monitors. Our section of computers with double monitors is popular with students.

These results align with our ongoing commitment to creating flexible, responsive and welcoming library spaces. For our 2019 renovation, student input on sizes, heights and styles of furniture directly influenced our purchases. Our noise-level designations match a wide range of study styles, and elevator and stairwell signage conveys each floor’s highlights and noise levels. This promotion of comfort and belonging supports students' success.

In our experience, if you ask a student about their favorite library space, they will be able to tell you which floor, which side of the floor and sometimes even the exact table or chair. I observed a student giving their parents a tour around the library, stopping to enthusiastically point out their go-to study nook and dry-erase board. Now that’s pride! 

Maybe someday, alumni will reminisce about their time at UD not by what street they lived on, but what library space felt like their home away from home. “Which Floor is Yours?” is a fun way to help students get connected to that table faster than the old fashioned trial and error — though we do still encourage that. We are all researchers, after all. 

— Katy Kelly is a professor in the University Libraries and assistant dean of strategic communication and outreach.

Previous Post

Reading at Roesch

Scott West highlights bestsellers, award winners and diverse perspectives available to borrow from Roesch Library's leisure reading collection.

Read More
Next Post

Community Over Commercialization

Recognizing the power of community is a crucial step in connecting people to free, immediate online access to information.
Read More