A Newly Interesting Space:
the Libraries @ Purdue
By: Annie Eckart
What is a library? And why do we care?
Most people think of it as a place
for quiet study and productivity.
Is it? What is being rhetorically
implied by the design of the
space? There is more than meets
the eye when it comes to
libraries. Read on to find out
more… what’s up with libraries and
which one is best for you?
Siegesmund Engineering Library
Bright, fluorescent lights
No wall decorations
Carpeted flooring to reduce noise
Individual study carrels
Need to study in a group?
The Siegesmund Engineering
Library provides a great group
study environment. Round tables
accommodate discussion by their
inward-facing design, carpeted
flooring cuts down on noise
between the tables, and the
chairs easily slide out on the
carpet to encourage interaction
Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Sciences Library
Have a major exam or
project coming up?
Individual study carrels…
No distracting windows…
Uninteresting wall paper…
Convenient access to books…
Like to study in groups, but need
Group setting, yet individual
to study on your own this time?
Study and still be around people
Successful individual study time!
Life Sciences Library
This library is
perfect for group
study, but also for
those who need a
noise to be most
and books are
This library also has
places for individual
study, but may have
a few problems…
Black Cultural Center Library
The desks are
spaced far apart
and the floor is
carpeted for noise
groups. The tables
are larger and
provide for a
Big desk size + large distance between next table = great for groups!
Hicks Undergraduate Library (UGRL)
crowded… but empty…
depending on the time of
day this area of the library
could be a prime study place
Humanities, Social Science, and Education Library (HSSE)
This library seems to have a specific and purposeful
design for its space. There are group study rooms,
and then places for individual study. The pictures
are above eye level, but the floor is tiled. It seems
that there are conflicting aspects to this seemingly
Do libraries have your best
interests at heart? What aspects
of a library’s design promote
studying, and which hinder it?
Values—Individual and group study…
isolation…quiet…focus… are these
things good for everyone?
Design— Does it seem like there’s
true design to these spaces? I think
that some libraries show more
thought than others. Or, is there
thought put into each of them, but
are they purposely trying to hinder?
Looking beyond— how can this
knowledge be used? Hopefully to
maximize the use of the library to
best fit your needs.