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Bird Library should receive support for renovations

The facilities and equipment in E.S. Bird Library are outdated and insufficient for modern college students. To fix this lingering problem, Syracuse University needs to increase its library funding.

According to the University Senate’s Library Committee, SU falls far behind other private research universities like Cornell, Duke and Northwestern in library funding. While Cornell allocates approximately $44 million to its libraries, SU only allocates about $18 million.

Fortunately for the SU community, Chancellor Kent Syverud understands that Bird should be renovated sooner rather than later. According to Deborah Pellow, the head of the Library Committee, Syverud wants to make improving the libraries a priority and increase their funding.

Increased funding should specifically focus on Bird Library because it is the biggest, most populated library on campus. The current budget for the library is not sufficient to maintain the library and upgrade its facilities and equipment.

This lack of funding is reflected in two key areas — technology and study space.

Bird’s computers have slow operating systems that lag behind modern standards. The library needs to substitute its slow computers with computers that have faster operating systems. There are also not enough outlets for students to charge their own electronic devices. Bird needs to add more outlets so students do not have to worry about leaving the table or cubicle they’ve set up at to charge their computers or tablets.

The library’s furniture is old and uncomfortable for students that often spend multiple hours doing work. Bird should replace its oldest furniture with new chairs and tables that make it more comfortable so students can study and complete assignments more easily. The library’s study rooms are also in need of an upgrade. They should be modeled after the up-to-date team rooms in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

Addressing the needs of Bird Library is crucial on many levels. The biggest, most populated library is a prominent feature on campus. Students need it as a work haven. Professors need it as a resource. Prospective students need to be impressed by it on tours.

Syverud’s awareness of this issue is an important first step toward an increase in funding. He should team up with Pellow and the Library Committee to push for swift action by the University Senate. With improvements to technology and study space, Bird can become a modern academic space for the modern student.

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