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Thompson Library receives $29K new furniture, more study space

Daniel Chi / Lantern photographer

There will be a few more seats for students studying for finals in William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library.

Fifteen new tables were added Wednesday and 51 chairs were refinished, bringing the total seating capacity of the library to 1,907 and increasing the number of tables to 276.

The $29,000 addition fulfills a campaign promise made by former Undergraduate Student Government president Nick Messenger a month after he left office.

“The additional tables and chairs will make it easier to find seats during the library’s typical busy times of the day,” said Larry Allen, communications coordinator for Ohio State Libraries, in an email. “Our goal was to increase study space while maintaining the comfortable environment students like.”

Peter Dorski, a third-year in microbiology, said the addition will help ease crowding.

“When I did study here last quarter, I did notice it took me awhile always to find a table, so I think more tables would definitely help,” Dorski said.

Jeff Hampton, a third-year in mircobiology, has also had trouble finding a seat in Thompson, but he said he isn’t as optimistic about the addition.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s enough,” Hampton said. “I went to five or six floors here and we were only looking for a place to sit three people and it was nonexistent. I went to the (Ohio) Union, (Science and Engineering Library) and here and this (seat) is not ideal. I’d definitely prefer a table.”

About 10,000 people visit Thompson every day, and that number increases to between 11,000 and 12,000 during finals, Allen said.

Allen said in an email that the library sets up temporary tables and chairs throughout the building, adding 128 seats to accommodate the increase of visitors during midterms and finals,

Amir Dada, a first-year in biology, doesn’t even try looking for a seat in Thompson during finals week.

“During finals week Winter Quarter, I wouldn’t even step into Thompson because everyone was telling me there was no point because there’s no way to get a seat,” Dada said. “So I would just have to look for those little corner places (around campus) where no one knows about.”

Thompson opened up in August 2009 after a three-year renovation with 256 tables, 88 study carrels and 1,800 seats. Allen said the 1,800 seats include seating in Berry Café as well as furniture that can seat multiple people. A couch with room for two people, for instance, counts as two seats.

While additions have been made since it’s opening, the latest addition to Thompson was prompted by USG under Messenger’s presidency.

“We fulfilled one of our major campaign promises which was to place between seven and eight new big tables in Thompson Library,” Messenger said in an interview with The Lantern April 4. “That might not sound like a lot at first, but it’ll make a difference during finals week.”

Messenger said he originally hoped the tables would arrive in time for midterms, according a March 7 email to students. However, the process took longer than expected because staff wanted the new tables to match the pattern and design of the original tables.

“You don’t just want to throw a mismatch of tables into Thompson and call it a day. So we had to match the same design of the tables that are in there now, which we did,” Messenger said.

Allen said that matching the new tables to the existing furniture was also a factor in the cost of the addition, but the durability of the new tables and chairs was the primary concern.

“This furniture receives continual heavy use, and we need it to last for many years,” Allen said in an email. “Purchasing good-quality furniture reduces our need to replace it because of wear and breakage, which is less expensive in the long run.”

Allen said the 51 chairs that were refinished were delivered and installed for $14,000. The 15 tables were purchased, delivered and installed for $15,000. USG contributed $8,000 toward the tables. Allen said OSU Libraries funded the rest of the latest addition as well as the 2011 and 2010 additions. OSU Libraries receive funding from university general funds, endowments, development funds and the libraries’ Trademark and Licensing unit.

Hampton said the $29,000 cost of Wednesday’s addition was too much and thinks the money would be better spent on increased hours.

“That’s way overpriced. I would almost say use the $30,000 to keep the library open two more hours,” Hampton said.

Allen said the total cost for adding 20 tables and 107 chairs since the library opened was $48,000.

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