Column: Let’s help improve our library

MU lacks world-class library facilities, and the proposed fee would be a great step toward fixing that.

We have the nice Rec. We have top colleges in multiple fields. We have new residence halls sprouting up and constant campus beautification projects happening.

What we don’t have is a cutting-edge library. Some say that the libraries on a college campus tell a lot about what the college stands for, and if one was to look at our beloved Ellis Library, they might not think we were a leading institution.

Shabby is a good word to describe the current state of Ellis’ interior. It can definitely be improved and made more efficient. The plans to renovate one of the most-used spaces on campus is a great move for MU to make, even if it is at the cost of students.

Plans have been made to propose a library fee for students in the coming years in very small amounts to fund the renovations. Students have to foot the bill of this costly renovation project because there is virtually nowhere else to pull the money from.

If the plan passes and is accepted by the students through voting in November, students in coming semesters will have to pay $5 more per credit hour. The $5 will increase by $2 each year until the end of the funding timeline, which is planned to be in 2022. The multimillion-dollar renovation will bring new study rooms to students as well as media labs and other useful resources to make students’ experiences great. It won’t apply to just Ellis, but all libraries on the MU campus.

When you tour MU for the first time, the MizzouRec facility is the climax of the tour because of how nice and advanced it is. It should be the same way for our libraries. As an educational institution, we should all be concerned about how accessible new scholarly articles and technologies are to us.

While MU is known all over the world for having a high-ranking journalism school and medical school, on lists comparing libraries, we don’t come close to the top. It’s not to say that we don’t have amazing resources through databases and journals at our fingertips, but as an overall experience, we could definitely do better.

Students should be willing to make a sacrifice in order to better our campus community and enhance our library system. Students’ voices can be heard when they vote yes or no to the plan.

When you’re in Ellis now, there are cords along the floors, small study spaces with chairs and tables that wobble. Bookmark Café is one of the least talked about eateries on campus and many students don’t know how to navigate through the library on their own.

The updated library will be a place for students to enjoy and actually want to spend time. There will be 24-hour study spaces and a brand new Digital Media Lab one the first floor of Ellis where students can create digital media content.

Since students are paying for much of the transformation of the library, we should be voicing our opinions on what we want to see out of the final project and how we plan to use the resources. Students know what is best for students, and we should be fully active in deciding how our money is spent.

Take the time to think about and research how other institutions around the country have revamped their libraries and made them more practical and usable. It is a known fact that MU is behind in library innovations and resources, and that is not okay. With a new, modern, easily accessible library, MU will be a powerhouse that continues attracting students and scholars from every corner of the world.

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