Before deciding to attend Georgetown, many Hoyas probably thumbed through the Georgetown admissions catalogue and saw pictures of Riggs Library – a beautiful academic sanctuary seemingly straight out of a Harry Potter movie. When they arrived at Georgetown, however, they realized that they would be lucky to step inside Riggs once before graduation and would have to settle for Lauinger Library – a sad mistake of 1970s architecture that fails to meet any romanticized visions of a grand college library.

The library suffers most from its ugly exterior and plain interior punctuated by linoleum floors, copper-colored carpet and paneled ceilings. Although these aesthetic realities are unlikely to see improvement in the near future, we are reminded as finals week approaches that Lauinger library fails students on several other counts.

The library must equip every cubicle with an outlet, and ensure wireless internet access reaches every corner of the building. The laughable scenes of extension cords crisscrossing through quiet areas to reach distant wall outlets – or students unable to find outlets at all – are shameful indications of Georgetown’s technological deficiencies.

Although the university is responsible for Lauinger’s structural and technological issues, Georgetown students bear responsibility for the library’s atmosphere, which is rarely conducive to serious studying. Most shocking is Georgetown students’ general disregard for “quiet areas.” There should be no talking in a quiet area – no cell phones, no conversations, no exceptions. Most students work in cubicles because they have work to do, and distraction is not on their agenda.

Students can take several proactive steps to create a better study atmosphere in the library. Cell phones should be on “silent” or “vibrate” settings. Students should not answer cell phones in quiet areas. Devices that play music should be muted by headphones that actually block sound. Lastly, if someone tells you to be quiet, don’t giggle when they walk away. If you are being such a nuisance in the library that someone else feels the need to shush you, the least you can do is show some respect and quiet down.

One can only hope that the obnoxiously loud renovations to the library’s exterior taking place throughout this semester will cease during finals, as administrators have indicated. The constant clatter makes studying in the library difficult – and sometimes impossible.

Administrators and students should begin to make Lauinger the library one would expect of an academic institution like Georgetown.

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