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Understanding Demands for Library Space

Article By: Brian Kall, Senior Financial Analyst

Drexel students know – space is limited at the Libraries- the lack of student space is one of the main complaints the Libraries receives through its online survey. Library buildings constructed decades ago did not anticipate the rapid growth that Drexel has seen in recent years. At the Libraries, staff continues to explore new ways to expand and innovate spaces to provide more learning environments for students.

Typically, a space starts to feel crowded when occupancy reaches 55%. When just over half of the seats are occupied it starts to become difficult to find a private or quiet space to study. The average overall daily occupancy at W. W. Hagerty Library is 46% while the first floor and café average 53% and 50% respectively. Naturally, these percentages fluctuate throughout the day – go to the café at lunchtime and occupancy is typically upwards of 70%! [Insiders tip – if you are looking for quiet times at W. W. Hagerty Library, arrive before noon or after 9 PM]

Now, in its third year, the Library Learning Terrace continues to be a popular space for collaborative study. With its close location to the student residence halls the Terrace peak occupancy is much later in the day with the highest occupancy at 9 PM and on Monday – Wednesday.

As staff at the Libraries continues to evaluate existing use of spaces and seek ways to expand usable study areas, occupancy data are incredibly valuable. Further study will be done at Hahnemann and Queen Lane libraries, where head count data are not yet available in comparable formats. Also, staff will look at outside factors that may affect occupancy. For example, do students leave the library when they are unable to find a seat?

The Libraries continually seeks feedback about environments, and all services, through the ongoing online feedback survey.

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