College of Engineering analysis says more space needed, but library closing is rumor

College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa said that there is no definitive answer to the library’s state, but the school never announced its closing.
The College of Engineering library has no definite answer if it is closing or not. Photo by Photographer Lilly Anna Brinson

The MU College of Engineering is currently analyzing and discussing reports about the college’s available research space. Students began to speculate if the library would close as a result.

However, the possibility of the engineering library closing is exactly that: a possibility. There is no definitive answer to what may happen to the library.

Elizabeth Loboa, dean of the MU College of Engineering, called the library’s closing a rumor. Talk about this only came about after the department received a report from a consultancy firm it hired to assess the college’s available space. Loboa said the school never officially announced the library closing.

The College of Engineering ranked second to last for research space in all the Association of American Universities public education engineering schools, Loboa said.

“Somehow we’ve got to increase space,” Loboa said. “Every step we’ve ever done in this college has focused in strategy, looking towards the future. We don’t want to respond in a reactive way. We work proactively.”

Loboa wants to ensure the success of the college by planning ahead. Analyzing the college’s available space was a necessary step in gathering data, Loboa said.

The student response to the talk of the library’s closure was strong, noted by a petition started by the MU Engineering Student Council that has gathered over 900 signatures as of March 5. MESC was not available for comment.

The MESC created a petition where they cited grievances they held with the library’s closure, listing reduced academic resources, academic space and overall value for the engineering school.

“It’s a good collaborative space for students to gather,” senior engineering student John Fennewald said. “There’s big tables to work on, computers where we can work, especially if you don’t have the financial stability to purchase your own laptop. I just think it’s a really great resource, not even to mention the books that are here.”

However, the response was a reactive approach, Loboa said. The petition was released before Loboa heard from any students regarding the rumor, causing confusion around the school.

“I’m proud of you for being strong and taking a stance on something you really believe in,” she said to engineering students. “That shows your leadership skills. That’s excellent. But the second part we can never forget, as engineers, we always get all the data before we act.”

Loboa hosted a forum on Feb. 4 where she updated students on the situation at hand and allowed the engineering students to openly express their thoughts. Another meeting is planned for an unspecified date in March.

The press wasn’t allowed to attend the forum because Loboa wanted the engineering students to speak freely without concern of the press listening in.

“Whatever decisions are made will be done openly and transparently and everybody has all the data,” she said.

Edited by Ethan Brown | ebrown@themaneater.com

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