Joel Yelton" />
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Saturday, December 2, 2023


Library for studying, not slacking off

Editorial cartoon drawn by Ho Yi Lau

One of the greatest learning resources on campus is the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library. Its hours of operation suit almost everyone’s schedule, and the staff is very helpful.

Students who don’t own computers are able to take advantage of the ones at the library computers for writing and research.

Study rooms provide a welcome sanctuary for groups striving to maximize productivity.

The library’s facilities, however, can only accommodate so many at one time. At any given point in the day, the computers are all being used.

Anyone who has scoured the aisles looking for an open computer knows all too well the long straining wait that accompanies that search.

For several thousand students to share several dozen computers requires much more than finesse; it requires patience and respect for other people’s time.

Walking through the labyrinth reveals screens with complex mathematical formulas, historical texts, papers in progress and the like; all positive signs of the progression of self-realization.

Those who have truly needed a computer to research a database or, in more dire times, finish a paper due in the next hour have undoubtedly witnessed careless individuals parked in front of a Facebook page or a YouTube video.

Other times, study rooms are occupied by one lone person, often asleep.

While all students have the freedom to use the library as they please, it cannot be denied that with freedom should come responsibility.

This is not to suggest that social networking sites and the like be banned; rather, all students should show respect and pride for the University by showing sensitivity and respect toward other students.

The problem with using the library as a means of entertainment is further compounded when midterms and finals roll around. During these crucial times, students cannot afford to wait on the whims of others with less-pressing matters.

Perhaps a compromise could be reached for such times. Signs could be posted asking students to limit their time on non-school related Web surfing; social networking sites would be voluntarily prohibited, relying on an honor system and student-to-student monitoring; study rooms would be allotted though a list in which at least two students would have to sign in and sign out when finished.

If these techniques were to fail, library staff would be notified and ask individuals to relinquish their time on the computer or in the study room.

Part of the problem could be fixed if students became more familiar with the services offered by the library. The third floor of the library has individual study rooms that are quiet and private.

Of course, this may not completely alleviate the problems and hassles of sharing so few computers and rooms amongst so many students. As technology changes, students must continually work to share privileges, even if that task is burdensome.

Only then can students strive to reach their true potential, which is indeed the point of a university education.

Joel Yelton is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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