Staff Editorial: The library students deserve

Hallelujah.

From freshmen to seniors, most of the student body had one common complaint all year: Gelman Library.

In fact, a shared hatred for the library might be one of the few uniting veins pulsing through students of all years at GW.

The Board of Trustees decided at a meeting May 13 that it would pledge $16 million to Gelman over the next three years, and we couldn't be happier to hear the news.

A university library should be able to host all the students who seek its facilities, but Gelman currently can't. Students should feel comfortable spending as much time as they like buried in books at the library desks, but it only takes a few hours of Gelman's oppressive heat to send them back to their rooms. Gelman's technological and space resources shouldn't be so limited that people are forced to avoid the library during finals and midterms - the times when it is most needed. Tour guides should be able to bring visiting groups into the library, rather than shielding prospective students from it.

A renovated Gelman with that kind of capital backing it might alow those library basics to be realized.

This new allocation marks an important signal that the University is listening to a principal student complaint. University president Steven Knapp said, whether GW garners outside funding to comprise the $16 million or not, Gelman will receive the pledged funds. Knapp's commitment to improving the library shows that it will remain a focus of the administration in upcoming years, and we are glad that, in the future, students will be able to work in a renovated library.

Gelman's sorry state has always posed a conundrum for administrators. While they have undoubtedly noted its ailing condition, a library is not a tuition generator, so choosing to pledge money toward it will not likely yield returns on investment. Still, we believe that students will ultimately benefit greatly from this allocation, and it is an investment worth making.

With this increased capital, Gelman renovations will be able to move beyond strictly planning first floor improvements. As most students study on floors two to six, this is an important project to begin. We hope that the University will continue to seek student and faculty input on how to go about renovations as it did with first floor renovations.

Student advocacy is a major influence sparking these changes. Student Association leaders and clubs like Get Gelman Going advocated passionately for improvements to the library, and their efforts catalyzed the administrative decision to pledge such a large amount. We are grateful that they culled student body complaints and relayed them to the board.

With this recent allocation of funds, we see hope for the University library GW students deserve.

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