Langston Hughes Memorial Library Re-opens After Four Years

East Wing of the library with a loose wire hanging

By Khendall Beale–Mostly referred to as the “point” on campus, the Langston Hughes Memorial Library stands tall with a scenic view, spanning from Dickey Hall Auditorium, across the academic quad, and ending at Lucy Laney Hall.

Since Dec. 12, 2007, the library was closed for renovations. After four years of construction, it was unofficially opened just in time for Homecoming week, Oct. 3-9, 2011.

The library has transformed into a futuristic look.

The motion censored glass doors and glass windows throughout, silver and chrome paneled ceilings, light fixtures that resemble U.F.O space disks, and a staircase with an antique stone cement finish, set in the middle of the building that spirals through all four floors, has really taken Lincoln well above the 21st century.

Students were excited about the opening.

“When I first walked into the library, I felt the sense that I was smarter already, compared to the congested feeling I got being in the modular,” student Alir Rothwell said.

Although the library is opened physically, according the Director of the Library, Tracey J. Hunter Hayes, the infrastructure needs more work.

“The library is only 80 percent functioning,” Hayes said.

The library is lacking signage, according to Hayes. Study rooms and even restroom facilities are not labeled.

“We (the library staff) are working to get more signs around and also maps to help direct the students,”  Hayes said.

 Access as it pertains to the library’s functionality is very limited. It seems as if Library is not fully run by its’ staff, but other offices on campus are in control of most if it’s essential operations.

Public Safety officers open and close the library according to its hours of operation. The library is opened from 8a.m. through 10p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 8p.m.

Students are not happy with the hours of operation for the library.

“How is the cafe going to be open longer than the library,” student Hakim Fulmore said.

Printers have also been an ongoing issue.  

Library staff members are only able to fill paper into the printers.  If any other issues concerning the printers would occur, the Information Technology department is the only department on campus that has access to the administrative codes for the printers.

The printers in the computer lab on the first floor were out of toner for more than a week’s time, even after several requests from the library’s staff to the Information Technology department.

If the hours for the library and faulty printers aren’t enough, students have continuously complained about the uncomfortable temperatures of the library.

It was 64 degrees in the library for more than 2 weeks after the library opened.

Junior Symone Dyer, usually dressed in a thick Lincoln hoodie covered with a jacket, found herself constantly moving around the computer lab to keep warm while she studied for long hours at time.

“It’s always cold in here,” Dyer said.

According to Hayes, “The ideal temperature for the library should be 72 degrees.” “The glue on the binders of some of the books were starting to dissolve.”

The Physical Plant department turned on the heat in the building just recently.

Students have access to everything they need, according to Hayes. However, the state of condition for some of the library’s resources has started to grow concerns.

The first floor, being the most controversial, holds special collections and historic African American articles.

During the renovation of the library, special collection materials were kept in collapsible compound shelves, which kept the books in good condition. The special collection is considered to be a very rare and valuable collection.

Unfortunately, the small room, complete with a wooden door, has had no lighting for quite some time.

Faculty member Dr. Daryl Poe, who also serves on the Board of Trustees, is excited to be back in the building, but also equally excited to have access to the information in special collections.

 “I’m kind of teased,” Poe said. “I went to see it at one time, and there was light. The second visit I took my class, and there was darkness”.

Darkness has seemed to cover the library in many different ways. Since the opening, the fourth floor which houses the book collection has had no lighting.

Hayes said that he has placed multiple requests to get the lighting in special collections and the fourth floor fixed so that students and faculty won’t have to continue to suffer from not being able to use those resources.

“I concur with Hunter Hayes. We need full functionality of the facility. My class needs it,” Poe said.

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