We need more space in the library, not parking tickets

It’s a great idea…in theory


Parking tickets: the yellow paper of shame that makes your heart sink as you see it plastered on the windshield of your car. The smug grin of the man or woman who’s just placed it there will haunt your nightmares. That fine will dent your bank balance into overdraft. Your parents will hold it over you for years to come.

For parking tickets in the library though, I’m not quite feeling this effect.

From everyone I’ve spoken to, there have been two words punctuating nearly every response to the new library ticketing system: “in theory”. Most students are applauding this ‘idea’, myself included, but we’re sceptical over the practice.

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Believe it or not this is the calm before the storm…

For a student population of around 9000, a library that can only accommodate around 960 is fairly pitiful.

The students scream “more study space”, the library responds with what is effectively “take someone else’s”.

Now I’m definitely not supporting these people who have been labelled by one second year historian as the “wankers hogging seats”, and something does need to be done to stop them “coming in as the library opens, saving a prime seat and then fucking off until the afternoon.” St Andrews feels strongly about these people.

But here’s the big problem: you see that yellow piece of paper on someone’s stuff, do you take that seat? One second year psychology student believed the  flaw in the system was that “all the hilariously awkward British folk wouldn’t dare sit in a seat that someone’s reserved.”

I say fuck that. If you need to work, you shouldn’t feel sorry about it. So when that person returns to their stuff what do you do? Do you avoid all eye contact? Do you smile apologetically? Do you look smug and self-entitled and try to make them feel as embarrassed as possible? My answer is none of the above. You peacefully carry on working and they peacefully collect their stuff – sometimes you’ve got to look out for number one and that’s fine, people can learn to accept it.

If anyone has a problem, direct them to the staff at the library.

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Student heating bills mean working at home just isn’t an option

Money may have been rolled into improving the library, but, while the addition of plugs is a godsend, we need more space, especially space open until late.

One second year maths student gave the example that “you can’t enter the physics library after 8, so the main library becomes the only option.”

Another third year biology student wanted more silent study space: “a special section for people like me, who want to study in a silent environment but struggle to be silent themselves…maybe just a cupboard?” A little extreme but needs must.

On the LibAnswers section of the library website, concerns over ticketing have also been voiced. For really keen students who only leave the place in order to sleep, there is concern that this hour window is too short. When they eventually take a break, they don’t want pressure on them while they’re trying to relax.

Fair enough, but I don’t want pressure on me when I want to study but can’t find any seats, especially when no one is actually sat there. So you might have to re-evaluate your schedule and routine for studying, everyone has to make changes in life and not everyone can always be accommodated.

In the case of the library this is very literal.

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Voice of the people, Oli Savage said: “An hour is a long time to leave space unused in a library that is already too small.”

So the ticketing is a good idea. But in practice, well, it could be useless.

Exam season will be a baptism of fire for the system and at that point I’m quite tempted to grab some popcorn and just watch the tensions explode.