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University closes 40 George Square study spaces

On February 4, The University of Edinburgh confirmed that the ‘noisy’ study spaces in 40 George Square have permanently closed.

The quiet study space in 40 George Square, located within the New College Library on the building’s ground floor, will remain open.

The university did not appear to inform students of the closure before it happened, with students instead learning through the appearance of a series of signs in the building’s lobby stating that the study spaces had been closed.

So-called ‘noisy’ study spaces permit students to speak out loud, providing a location to participate in live online lectures and tutorials.

The closure will reduce the number of ‘noisy’ study spaces at the George Square campus to 285, split between the Law Library and the Hugh Robson building.

The ‘noisy’ study spaces have been useful for many students who have wished to participate in live online learning away from their living space.

However, some have questioned the usefulness of the building’s study spaces, arguing that they were not well known among students, and remained poorly patronised for the duration of their opening.

Brigid McMorrow, a 4th year student, expressed her disagreement with the University’s decision to close the study spaces, saying,

“I think it’s a shame that the university has closed these study spaces – the argument that they were poorly populated makes sense, but some more targeted advertising of these spaces, especially in busy study spaces like the main library, could have drawn attention to them.

“I also think that ‘noisy’ study spaces such as these are invaluable to students from households where it is difficult to take place in online classes, and so they have a huge value.”

In a statement to The Student, a University of Edinburgh spokesperson said,

“During the pandemic, government legislation required us to reduce most of our on-campus activities. This included limiting the number of study spaces available to keep our community safe.

“At the peak of the pandemic this reduced the number of study spaces we had available in our permanent study areas to about 1,600. As restrictions began to ease, several buildings on campus were repurposed, including 40 George Square, for use as temporary study space.

“As on campus teaching increases, we have reverted the temporary study spaces at 40 George Square to their original function of teaching. We still have some study spaces available in the building as part of the New College Library.

“Our provision of study spaces across all campuses has increased with over 7,200 available along with more than 100 unused classrooms available for booking.”

More information about study spaces available on the various University of Edinburgh campuses can be found here.

Image via: Geograph

By Joe Sullivan

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