Initiative to Help Students Find Library Spots

Juniors Avery Spatt and Kate Neisloss and sophomore Molly Chandler have endeavored to make seating in Case-Geyer Library easier and more reliable for Colgate students through their Thought Into Action (TIA) initiative, SpaceRace.

SpaceRace aims to install a system in the Case-Geyer Library that would allow students to view seating availability on a website or mobile application, and to reserve a spot for 15 minutes before arriving at the library. The team envisions that a device will read ‘Gate cards, enabling students to check in to a spot.

The project is still in its early stages. Spatt, Neisloss and Chandler are currently conducting a trial run whereby they monitor the main strip of cubicles on the fourth floor every 30 minutes and input the real-time availability into a Google Document.

“Although this is only a small section of seats, we have found that the availability of seats here is indicative of the greater seating capacity throughout the library,” Chandler said. “Because students often prefer seats that are not in this main strip, the relative crowdedness of this section generally reflects how crowded the library is.”

Spatt and Neisloss conceived of this idea for TIA in light of their own experience.

“We used to sit in our room on a Sunday morning dreading the trek to Case, and wishing that we knew if we would even be able to get a seat once we got to the library,” Neisloss said. “When we received the email about Thought Into Action in the Spring of 2013, we decided to try to solve this issue.”

Spatt and Neisloss, who went abroad for the Fall 2013 semester, recruited Chandler, who could ensure that the project would develop during the fall, as well as after Spatt and Neisloss graduate.

 “I think that a seating system would be very useful because it will make students’ time more efficient,” Chandler said. “It will save students time if they know they have a seat and it will prevent students from saving seats for their friends.”

Currently, other universities do not have systems like this in place.

“We are excited about this project because it is not just applicable to Colgate’s library. We want to ultimately bring this to other schools and other settings,” Neisloss said.

The team hopes that the Google Document sent out in a Campus Distribution email and survey feedback will prove the necessity of a program like this at Colgate. So far, there have been 700 clicks on the Google Document and an overall positive student response. Last semester, the team received 400 responses to a survey on SpaceRace, the majority of which were in favor of a tracking system for seating in the library. By the end of the year, the goal is to know what the system would look like and what it would cost.

“We owe so much of the development of SpaceRace to the TIA program,” Spatt said. “We have meetings and phone calls once a month with Colgate alumni who help us to make our product marketable, and to keep us on track with meaningful development of the product. Additionally, the other students in TIA have given great feedback during the monthly forums.”

Despite the previous responsiveness to the survey, the team stresses the continued importance of student feedback.

“We really want to know what students think about this, and how they feel this system could best work,” Spatt said. “We welcome all feedback that we can get because student support is key to this project.”

Contact Hannah Fuchs at [email protected].