Library Updates Overdue
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 11:10
Follow a university’s money trail, and you will quickly discover where the school’s priorities lie. Georgetown has spent generously to bolster facilities for science research, athletics and business education. But what about Lauinger Library — the place former provost James O’Donnell once called “a beacon of our commitment to learning and inquiry”?
The library may be notorious for its architectural unattractiveness, but its interior deficiencies are also of concern. O’Donnell was right: Libraries on college campuses are both symbolic and substantive reflections of a school’s academic commitment, and Lauinger sends an unflattering message to Georgetown insiders and outsiders alike.
Lauinger is overdue for a cosmetic and functional facelift. The main library on the Hilltop should be on par with Georgetown’s attractive campus and appreciation for research and scholarship. The library, built in 1970, sits near the center of campus, and its unappealing facade is a blemish on an otherwise historic landscape. More importantly, Lauinger does not properly serve students and faculty as a 21st-century library. With its lack of natural light, dated layout and shortage of usable space, the library is often used by students only as a last resort for studying.
Aesthetic concerns in the Lauinger interior have noticeable consequences on the mood of a place used for the already grim task of studying, and it’s no mystery why many students opt to do classwork at newer and more uplifting venues around campus.
Having successfully constructed Regents Hall for science and the Rafik B. Hariri Building for business, the university should turn its attention to improving Lauinger. Such requests are not made merely to indulge students with a luxurious study experience but to offer members of the Georgetown community more than just bare-bones resources for their academic pursuits.