Letter to the Editor
Hooray! Hunt Library just celebrated its 50th anniversary! Its gift was a set of Color Kinetics LED lights around the outside that, when lit, essentially match the Pausch Bridge.
I spent an evening working in the library this week while the lights were on. I was sitting at the end of a table in the café area, about as far away from a window as one can get in there. As a student trying to get work done, I was frustrated by the exterior lighting. The frequent color changes are distracting, and I found myself looking up every time I noticed a change in my peripheral vision.
The purpose of library giving is to “improve the library for students, meeting their academic needs and enriching their quality of life at Carnegie Mellon” www.cmu.edu/library-giving. The lights were a gift to the library, but they make the library a place that does not meet my academic needs nor enrich my quality of life. I don’t use the library as a place to socialize; I come here when I need to do work in a quiet place. That evening I was frequently distracted by the constant color changes, and I am wary of coming back to the library in the evenings.
On weekends or during the summer when students aren’t using the library, the colored lights are fun and exciting like the Pausch Bridge. However, on weeknights I would urge you to consider choosing a single lighting scheme for the night that doesn’t change. I want to be able to use the library’s services with finals coming up, as well as next semester, but I don’t think it is a good place for me to work anymore.
Did the people spearheading this lighting initiative ever consider how the lights might affect students inside trying to use the building for its intended purpose? The windows outside the Pausch Bridge are mostly faculty members’ offices, and those offices are usually empty during the evenings. Therefore the issue of distraction has probably not been brought up. However, the library is the place to work on campus and is open 24 hours to allow students to have a place to work at all hours.
The lights outside have made the library unusable after dark.