Campus librarians call on students to treat shared spaces like home

A kind message was left on a whiteboard in one of the many study rooms on the second floor of the Moody Memorial Library. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor.

By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer

Students have taken advantage of the privacy benefits of the individual study rooms on the second floor of Moody Memorial Library by writing on the wooden walls, concrete and bricks.

The walls, the worst-hit area, are being used as “message boards” with information ranging from words of encouragements to inappropriate phrases.

Eric Ames, associate director for advancement, exhibits and community engagement at Moody and Jones Library, said the situation is “tricky.”

Ames said his team wants to see students support each other, but every time students write on the wall they cause damages to the property that the facilities staff has to either clean or spend time fixing.

“That costs time, money and aggravation for our housekeeping staff and for our facilities folks,” Ames said. “We can’t encourage or condone writing on the walls.”

However, Ames said they do love when they come in and see the written messages on the whiteboards, where people have written, “Hey, you can do it,” or, “We’re here for you.”

“We like to see that, but we would encourage students to treat this facility as they would with their own home,” Ames said. “We would encourage you to treat this as a place that everyone gets to use as a shared space.”

Sha Towers, associate dean of research and engagement and librarian, said they are trying to find other ways to pass encouraging comments without damaging the university’s property. Some of their ideas include using corkboards, small dry-erase boards or post-it notes.

“We try to not pour thousands of dollars into the equipment to make this work,” Towers said. “We may provide post-its at the desk and put some signage in or around the carols that say, ‘Hey, we love supportive, encouraging words.'”

Ames said with midterms already past and finals ahead, finding ways to continue passing encouragements among students without damaging property could be “a neat thing to roll out and try during finals.”

Celebration, Fla., senior Claire Martin said she has seen the written messages on the wooden walls in individual study rooms and found them to be distracting and unnecessary.

“I think it’s just disrespectful, especially when people write bad stuff on the walls,” Martin said. “It’s not their property. It’s someone else’s property. If you want to doodle, just doodle on paper or something.”

Martin also said she noticed some of the positive messages and believes there could be better ways for students to communicate these words of encouragement. She said monitored chalkboards in residence halls for students is an alternative for students to interact with one another.

“I think something like that where it can be a space to create encouraging things, especially during finals, could be nice,” Martin said. “That way it’s not permanent in the way that if someone wrote something you didn’t want on there, would be hard to get it off.”