Category Archives: Facilities

Restrooms and Doors

I am a new student at the School of Nursing and have been using the
Tompkins-McCaw library much this summer. I will to use TML into the
forthcoming semesters. However, I have a few observations, The Men’s
bathroom on the main floor has been in a state of disrepair since late
May, whether it is the lack of cleanliness, broken fixtures or the poor
plumbing, there seems to be a real contradiction in terms here given the
fact that TML is used by mainly future healthcare professionals. It
would be nice to see this part of the facility improved.
My other suggestion is that the door leading from the main floor to the
stacks be fixed or replaced. I am not sure if it is the hinges or the
pneumatic hinge at the top of the door or the door just not being
aligned correctly but every time it is opened or closed it serves as a
distraction to all who are within earshot to both those in the stacks or
those on the main floor. I am sure this is a simple repair or
replacement and it would go a long way to removing a distraction from
the library.
Thank you for taking these suggestions into consideration.


From: an undergraduate student

Jodi Koste, Head of TML Resources and Operations, replies…

Welcome to VCU and thank you for taking the time to submit your suggestions. The doors to Stack Level C are old and quite noisy.  The high humidity of the summers plays havoc with our older doors.  We have submitted a request to VCU Physical Plant to make adjustments so that the doors will close more quietly.

The restrooms in our aging building are also a challenge. They are cleaned nightly with some limited mid-day service. Our staff periodically inspects the facility along with the University’s contractor administrator for housekeeping services. We realized that the restrooms are not always up to the standards maintained in other buildings on the MCV Campus which must meet requirements for clinical facilities. Nevertheless we do try to address both cleanliness and facilities issues in our restrooms. If you encounter future problems with the restrooms, please report them to the TML Service Desk and we will do our best to resolve them. We do hope to renovate and update our restroom facilities in the future.

Continue reading

Restrooms in Cabell Library

I am hesitant to give this suggestion, but it must be done. I love VCU libraries and spend most of my study time here. I think Cabell is great, but the restrooms are worse than most truck stops. In fact, the first floor bathrooms are the most befouled on campus (yes–even compared to the “facilities” in Shafer or the Commons). Granted, I can only speak for the ladies room, but the bathrooms are so disgusting they are often unusable and frequently lack paper products late in the evening. Usually, the basement and 4th floor toilets are usable. I have never experienced this problem at the MCV library. Thank you for providing 24 hr service; it truly makes a difference.

From: a professional student

Jeanne Hammer, Assistant University Librarian for Administration and Policy Development replies…

Thank you for bringing to our attention that the restrooms need additional attention in the evening hours. We will work with the new contract housekeeping company and the VCU contract administrator to increase the level of service between the day shift and the night shift cleaning.

Need for quiet study space at Cabell Library

For the love of god, please give students like myself a QUIET place to study! It is beyond frustrating that our tuition is continually hiked, but the heart of our University (or any university)-our library-is way underfunded and lacking space. Yes, I realize it’s “next on the list” after the new classroom building has reached significant progress. But when will that be?? This is an ongoing problem that’s been around since I transferred to VCU over three years ago. This is nothing new. What’s the point of building more classrooms if there’s no place to study what we learn in the classroom, in peace and quiet? I’m well aware that there’s a “silent” fourth floor. But when you’re sitting down for an extended period of time up there, it’s not all that silent. Phones go off, people whisper loudly, and sometimes they’ll just talk outright. The fourth floor is now what the third floor used to be. Not to mention, on any given day it’s mostly full. Most students, such as myself, do not live alone and cannot have real peace and quiet at home. This is unfair to those of us who spend just as much time studying as we do in the classroom (if not way more), and we’re tired of hearing excuses from the administration. Furthermore, it’s infuriating that when VCU did spend our tuition dollars on the library, they built the noisiest second floor in library history. Getting work done there is fruitless; it has become a hub for bombastic socializing, and it is essentially now just an extension of the Commons. Even better, VCU put the money into installing shiny new sliding doors in the entrances. I’ve been here for awhile so I know that at any given time one of the old doors was broken, but on either side there were still three or four more doors. Our fancy new sliding doors went out of order at the beginning of the semester and an entire half of the library entrance was blocked off! Ridiculous. I’m graduating in December, and I love the people of this school with all my heart. But it’s infuriating that a school with such academic potential as VCU cares so little about the sacred and central place to all universities: the library.

From: an undergraduate student

Dennis T. Clark, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies…

Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback on the important issue of quiet study space in the Cabell library. First, we appreciate your concern about the relative lack of quiet study. As you note, we have attempted to “tier” the library floors from least quiet (1st) to silent (4th). Invariably, noise — electronic and otherwise — creeps onto even the silent floor. We do take your concern seriously and will be increasing our security patrol of the 4th floor in order to deter inappropriate noise.

Likewise, I appreciate your concern about the 2nd floor socializing. That floor is intentionally collaborative (and therefore noisy) because VCU students need places for group work, and we worked hard to meet those needs. Although it may seem like overt socializing, we know from experience that floor is heavily used for academic work. In short, we are extremely sympathetic.

Regarding the doors: We are well aware that the doors have had some rough spots in their first few weeks of operation. We use them ourselves! It’s frustrating, though not unexpected with a new installation. We’ll keep working to reduce incidents such as the one you describe. We do hear from many students and faculty how much they appreciate the change from the previous entryway doors.

Interestingly, we had library visitors from another Virginia university a few weeks ago. Those folks commented on how every inch of space was in use, due to the high volume of visits in ration to the extremely limited amount of library space per student. This challenge will continue until funds are appropriated to construct another library building. Until then, please know that we work daily in trying to preserve a reasonable balance between quiet and noisy library work. And again, thank you for your thoughts.

Safety concerns on a rainy day

Umbrella wet bags at the entrance would be very beneficial and will prevent the floor from being very slippery.

From: an undergraduate student

Jeanne Hammer, Assistant University Librarian for Administration and Policy Development replies…

Thank you for the suggestion about umbrella wet bags. We will order two holders – one for each exterior door – and a supply of the bags. Although our operating budget for supplies and such is quite limited, VCU’s office supply contract does offer a deep discount on the retail price. The bags will be available as soon as possible, especially on rainy days.

Noise on the 4th floor of Cabell Library

I am taking classes this summer. I am in the library on the 4th floor almost every day. Without fail, staff is continuously coming out of the offices and being very disrespectful of the 4th floor policy of no talking. They continue to have loud group discussions around the elevators. I have also noticed that it is also contractors. Now I want nothing more than for our library to get better and provide better facilities for students, but it is unacceptable for staff and faculty to disrupt students studying and working towards their future goals. It is very distracting and uncalled for.

From: an undergraduate student

Dennis Clark, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies…

Thank you for taking the time to send your comment to the Libraries’ Suggestion Blog. You’re right to remind library staff that we sometimes forget the study space guidelines that govern the use of the fourth floor at Cabell Library. Please know that I will share your comments with the staff who work here. If you encounter this problem in the future, please alert library staff at the nearest service desk for assistance. If you do not receive excellent service, don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

We understand that quiet study space is at a premium, and your library experience is important to us. I appreciate your blog post and hope you will continue to send your comments and suggestions.

Warm temperatures in the Mapp Room

To whom it may concern, Hello. I am not sure who to contact about this, but this is the best option I could find, so I apologize if this lies in the realm of university control. I have been frustrated with the temperature of the John Mapp Graduate Study and Reading Room for about a week now. It is incredibly hot and there is a large, noticeable difference when you step out of the room and into the regular library study area. If there is any way you could lower the temperature, it would be much appreciated. I have not been able to get any work done while I’ve been in there. Thank you so much.

From: a graduate student

Jeanne Hammer, Assistant University Librarian for Administration and Policy Development, replies…

Thank you for bringing the overly warm temperatures in the Mapp Room to our attention. The complaints we’ve received over the last week have been that it’s too cold in Cabell Library generally and especially on the 4th floor. Physical Plant in response attempted to boost temperatures by a few degrees, which probably was overkill for the Mapp Room. We will work with Physical Plant to reduce the temperature in the Mapp Room.

Enforcement of floor guidelines at Cabell Library

There should be better enforcement of the rules of each floor, especially when it comes to talking and using electric [sic] devices.

From: an undergraduate student

Mary Ellen Spencer, Head of Research and Instructional Services, replies…

If you follow the Suggestion Blog, you’ll see that you’re not alone in wanting stricter enforcement of noise policies in Cabell Library. As a result of these comments, the library’s administration is working with our security personnel to increase patrols and to enforce the various floor rules. The next time you encounter inappropriate behavior, please alert either a library staff member or a security guard to assist you. Thanks very much for taking the time to send us this comment.

Availability of electrical outlets in quiet areas of Cabell Library

I can’t deal with lots of noise when I’m trying to work/study so I usually prefer the fourth and third floor of Cabell library in that order. Unfortunately the fourth and third floor of Cabell have very little outlets. This is frustrating when I walk up to the fourth floor, can’t find an open outlet, and walk down the the third floor and cannot find an open outlet either. I think just like the newly renovated second floor that has acquired many outlets the same should be done with the third and fourth floor. I’m not sure how that would work, but I think it would definitely be appreciated by many students; I often see other students, especially during the end of the semester, walking around these floors struggling to find an electrical outlet.

From: an undergraduate student

Mary Ellen Spencer, Head of Research and Instructional Services, replies…

Your suggestion that the library increase the number of electrical outlets on the third and fourth floors of Cabell Library is a good one. We are aware of the problem you describe and are sympathetic to students looking for a quiet place to use their laptop computers. Please know that I’ve passed along your idea to the library’s administration who understand the need for additional outlets. Thank you for taking the time to comment to the Suggestion Blog.

Noise on the first and second floors of Cabell Library

I love the new 2nd floor. It is a very important study place for me as a commuter student. But really, the noise level gets completely out of control sometimes. If you want to do nothing but socialize, PLEASE go to the Commons! Most of us are here to study. Those who are talking and studying are usually not a problem. But the uncontrolled giggling, loud (and endless) flirting and rousing talk about last night’s game are best done elsewhere. Please, can’t we have *some* limit on the decibel level? And yes, I would spend all my time on the 3rd or 4th floors, but the power outlets are scarce!

The first and second floors of the library are still parts of the library. I understand that people may need to work together, but shouldn’t they still do it with their “library voices”? It’s a little ridiculous that you have to go all the way to the third floor (which doesn’t have many tables)before you can hear hushed voices. Maybe policing these first two floors a little more to make sure most talking is education related, and not yelling.

From: undergraduate students

Mary Ellen Spencer, Head, Research and Instructional Services, replies…

First, thank you for your comments about the new Learning Commons. VCU Libraries designed this space for collaborative student use, and it’s certainly become popular this fall semester! That said, all floors of Cabell Library are subject to the Use of Library Facilities policy. This policy states that “any behavior that is disruptive to library use,” including “excessively loud noise,” is prohibited. Please do alert a library staff member or a security guard the next time you encounter this behavior. Also know that I have forwarded both comments to the Libraries’ administration so that they can alert security guards to the problem.

With the high traffic in Cabell Library — especially on the first and second floors — some noise is inevitable. However, the library is intended to support the research needs and academic pursuits of VCU students. If you have additional questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you for sending your comments to the Suggestion Blog.

Noise from housekeeping staff

I don’t know… maybe if the custodial staff could not shout and curse on the third floor of the library for 30 minutes at a time, that could be cool.

From: a library user

Jeanne Hammer, Assistant University Librarian for Administration and Policy Development, replies…

Thank you for informing us about this problem. Housekeeping services are provided by a contract company, and VCU expects professional behavior from the company’s employees. We have asked VCU’s quality assurance manager, who oversees this contract, to work with the contract company’s on-site manager to remedy the situation.