The story of the Robertson Library is a story as old as the University itself. The library has been a meeting and study epicenter for students since its construction in 1975.
Since then, the structure of the library has been steadily dropping in quality. The decay of the building itself is
not difficult to see, as once rain starts or snow melts, water buckets materialize across the floor on both levels of the library. These buckets have grown so numerous that many students, myself included, find themselves navigating around them like a game of hopscotch while walking to study spots. This isn’t the only issue with the library though, as the temperature difference between different parts of the building seems to be running in their own separate ecosystems.
My favourite study spot, the sunroom on the upper level, is a prime example of this. The room must be one of the hottest and most humid places on campus. Of course, the sun plays a big part in this, but so does the heat they always seem to have pumped into the room.
As soon as you exit the room, the heating stops, the temperature seems to drop by double digits, and you find yourself searching for the sweater or jacket that you had to shed while in the previous location.
You could bypass this space by utilizing the solitary study rooms on the perimeter of both levels, however they always seem to be booked and in use when you want one.
This leaves the yellow cubicles, a comfortable spot if the lighting and seating were somewhat decent. The lighting throughout the library is atrocious, with many aisles of books being completely left in darkness.
Sarah Fisher, an Administration, Outreach, and Access Services worker at the library, understands the difficulties that face the library as it rounds its 50th anniversary. She agrees the current condition of the library is not the most suitable for the precious book s that it carries.
“The library is certainly showing its age, being 50 years old. I know a renovation is currently in the works, but it doesn’t help the current state of the building. Buckets on the ground, dim lighting everywhere, it isn’t a very good environment for the books.”
“The lighting throughout the library is atrocious, with many aisles of books being completely left in darkness.”
While the library is facing many challenges, most of which are due to the building certainly being past its prime, it’s not all terrible. The student support and services that the library staff give to students are unmatched.
Being an Arts student myself, the library staff and their knowledge are lifesavers, and they always seem willing and able to help, no matter the question.
“Buckets on the ground, dim lighting everywhere, it isn’t a very good environment for the books”
If I were to give the Robertson Library a score, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, I would give it a solid 6/10. If I were to judge the library on its structure alone, it would be hovering around the 4/10 mark. It’s the library staff and their willingness to help that bolsters the ranking significantly.
I do hope UPEI doesn’t drag its feet on the renovation of the library, as both students and staff deserve a fully functioning building. A building in which both books and students are dry and safe inside.
By: Devon Thistle