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Hale Library Blog

Author: Brenna Leahy

Exploring alternative study spots with Brenna

Hi! My name is Brenna. I’m a junior from Conway Springs, Kan., majoring in English. I was hired as a communications student employee for K-State Libraries about two weeks before Hale caught on fire, and as someone who basically lived in the library last semester, I was pretty upset when I heard what had happened, especially when I realized the extent of the damage. 

Selfie of the author.
This is me, looking a little sleep-deprived at work.

The K-State Student Union has stepped up in amazing ways, especially by hosting Library Help and IT Help desks. Everyone knows about it as a study spot, though. I decided to take a mini-tour to see what other study locations around campus are my favorite! Here are a few out-of-the-way areas you might not know about. 

I used the “Hale recovery” tab on the K-State interactive map to find locations that would be good on-campus study spots. The map itself was incredibly helpful since it has the hours listed as well as the room numbers or floors.

My first stop was Calvin Hall’s third floor, which is advertised on the map as a location with group study space, printing capabilities and a computer lab. The group study spot was extremely comfortable with rows of cushioned chairs and a pretty relaxed atmosphere.

The very nice grad student who I talked to said that it’s typically pretty empty, except for right before class starts. 

There is also a charging station with both Android and iPhone compatible cords for those days when you find yourself without a charger. You can also find a  computer lab with a printer in Room 318.

A charging station on a black metal post with adapters hanging from it.
Charging station with cords for Androids and iPhones in Calvin Hall.
A man in a baseball cap holding a laptop sits on a couch.
Friendly Calvin Hall grad student.

Eisenhower Hall 121 was the next place I visited. This room is a designated quiet room, and it had a lot of outlets surrounding the desks, which is always a plus. There was no one there at all, and it was really easy to find.

There is a chalkboard there if that helps you study. Unfortunately, there is no printing in Eisenhower for students, so plan accordingly!

Several white plastic tables and aqua chairs sit in front of a large, sunny bank of windows.
Tables in Eisenhower 121, a quiet study room.

The College of Business Building is home to some amazing study spaces. Rooms are available for both quiet study and group study. Even the open study spaces on the first, second and third floors were relatively quiet.

The very friendly student I talked to said that the areas are generally heavily trafficked and that it can be difficult to grab a study room.

However, there were so many different seating options and arrangements outside of study rooms. Nearly all of the chairs I saw also had desks near them. Printers are available, and they are located near the first, second and third floor elevators and in the back of the computer lab located in Room 3121.

A student with short dark hair sits in an armchair holding a black laptop in front of a light purple wall.
Seating options in the College of Business Building.
A student with long brown hair and glasses smiles at the camera as she sits in an office chair with her feet propped up on an armchair and holds her laptop.
Study room in the College of Business Building. 
More than two dozen double computer monitors line long wooden tables in a room occupied by a single student.
The computer lab in the College of Business Building, Room 3121.

Next up, Justin Hall! Justin Hall has a quiet study room (Room 301) on the third floor and group study locations on the first floor in an open area.

A computer and large printer sit under a sign that says "Louis S. and Rachel C. Hodgson Student Collaborative Area."
The printer in Justin Hall, which is located by the group study area.

Right by the entrance to Justin, there are tables with chairs for groups, and farther back in the first floor is another group of comfortable chairs—these do not have desks, but it was quite a bit quieter than the area by the entrance. Printers are available both in the quiet study room and in the group study location to the left of the main entrance.

Brenna sits in an armchair against the left wall; nearby, two tables are surrounded by a variety of office chairs.
Quiet study in 301 Justin.

Dickens Hall has 24/7 printing available! It is a computer lab, so it has a lot of computers and a printer available. They’re located in Room 1, which is in the basement. You can access it through the back entrance on the north side of the building or the wheelchair accessible entrance throughout the night.

A dozen monitors sit on three tables lined against a wall.
Rows of computers in the basement of Dickens Hall lab.
Three students with short hair hold notebooks and pens as they look at a computer monitor together.
The computer lab in Dickens Hall. 
Wheelchair accessible entrance to the computer lab in Dickens Hall.

The Vet Med Library is located on the north side of campus in Trotter Hall, very close to the K-State Rec. Its amazing booths might just be worth the trek. It’s open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and has public computers, scanners and a printer.

The printer does cost a small amount because it doesn’t accept CatCash. There is an open group study area as well as a room specifically for quiet study, Room 422.

It is located on the fourth floor of Trotter Hall and is to your right when you get off the elevators. The chairs are comfy, and there is a variety of seating arrangements, including those booths—they’re now my favorite spot because they have outlets on the table and are incredibly comfortable.

Entrance to the Vet Med Library on the fourth floor.
A curved help desk at the left is adjacent to a study area with tables and office chairs, as well a variety of soft seating.
Group seating in the Vet Med Library.
Wooden tables and gray booths with an aqua pattern line one wall of the Vet Med Library. A student at a laptop works in the distance.
Booths in the Vet Med Library.

I found a ton of study spots that I did not know existed before this year, and some of them I really loved. If you’re like me, you’re missing Hale Library, but there are great spots out there. Go find your new favorite spot—and let us know about it!

The future of the “We Are the Dream” mural

A full view of the mural, which features symbols of Native American culture, including a bison; images representing black American struggle such as Martin Luther King Jr. speaking on the Washington mall; and leading Hispanic activists such as Cesar Chavez. Stars and stripes from the U.S. flag form the backdrop.

Maybe you’ve never seen it. The “We Are the Dream” mural on the fourth floor of Hale Library is not heavily trafficked, but it’s an important record of the struggle of K-State’s underrepresented students to be seen and heard.

“We Are the Dream,” which was sponsored by the Black Student Union, Movimiento Estudiantil de Chicanos de Aztlan (MEChA, a Hispanic student group), and the Native American Indian Student Body, was painted and dedicated in 1980. At that time, it was a striking focal point in the Minorities Resources/Research Center. In recent years, the space has served as the Academic Learning Center, a daytime study location for student athletes. 

A man stands on a ladder at right with his hand outstretched to work on portraits of a Hispanic family that are featured in the mural.
Harold Carter started the “We are the Dream” painting in May 1980. He was a senior in landscape architecture when the mural was dedicated that fall.

This summer, the “We Are the Dream” mural was damaged in the May 22 fire, along with the rest of the building. In fact, the Academic Learning Center staff, led by Liane Fowler, assistant director of Student Academic Services, was the first to smell the smoke in their space directly in front of the painting.

Their area is located on the opposite side of the wall from the Great Room Murals, so the two works of art have undergone some of the same challenges. Both suffered from significant water damage and soiling, and it is imperative that the the wall between them dries out. The “We Are the Dream” mural had mold trapped behind it: While the images are beautiful, the paint created a barrier that inhibited the moisture from escaping.

An interior scene of the Academic Learning Center with the mural on the wall at left. The carpet, half a dozen round wooden tables, and black office chairs are covered in plaster debris.
The Academic Learning Center was very near the site where the fire started on the roof and suffered extensive water damage. May 24, 2018.

Rachel Gilberti, the chief conservator at John Canning Company, has been working with the damaged mural since June 22, after her company was contacted by Julia Mathias Manglitz, the preservation architect with TreanorHL. 

“The ‘We Are the Dream’ mural is painted on burlap that was incorporated in the original 1927 building construction, so that’s been there for a long time,” Gilberti said. “When they made the mural in the early ’80s, they came in and painted over everything that was existing. So, in reality, that surface was never really prepared for a painting.”

Two women in yellow construction vests sit on metal scaffolding as they remove a section of the mural from the wooden planks behind it that run horizontally across the length of the wall.
Conservationists carefully remove the mural in sections. The squares on the painting are facing paper, which is made of mulberry fibers and helps protect the surface as the painting is handled and moved. August 6, 2018. 

“Another challenge is that we have multiple types of adhesives going on behind the burlap. There’s the original adhesive used when the burlap was installed, and over the years, as the seams started coming apart, they started injecting other adhesives on the seams. There are 15 pieces of burlap, so a lot of the seams have a different type of adhesive, and each type reacts differently.”

Gilberti and her conservation associates have removed each section of burlap from the wall, which will allow air to reach the wall behind the painting and dry it out.

The “We are the Dream” mural has been moved in pieces to another floor in the library and spread on tables so the conservationists can clean them.

Two women wearing white hard hats and yellow construction vests lean over large brown rectangular panels of the murals spread on library tables so they can carefully remove debris.
After deinstallation, the painting was laid out face-down on tables in the library so conservationists Grace Moran and Juliana Roy could clean the burlap on the reverse side. August 10, 2018. 

However, the Libraries administration’s hope that the mural won’t remain in pieces. It will be safely stored by John Canning Company in a climate-controlled space until it can be reinstalled in a clean, renovated Hale Library. 

“They are salvageable,” Gilberti said. “Every piece of art is salvageable. It’s not one of those things. Conservators are here for exactly that reason, to salvage the artwork and preserve what the original artist’s intent is. So they will be saved.”

When asked about the “We Are the Dream” mural, Dean of Libraries Lori Goetsch noted that it’s an important part of K-State’s cultural history.

“We love having it as part of Hale Library and look forward to its restoration,” she said. “The fact that this mural celebrates diversity and progress at K-State makes it an important piece of work to be treated with respect and preserved as well as it can be.”

A woman sits on yellow scaffolding several feet off of the ground in front of a section of the mural featuring large red and white stripes and portraits of an Hispanic man, woman, and infant.
August 6, 2018. 

The mural has been an important symbol to many K-Staters over the years. In May 1993, students gathered around the mural to mourn the death of Hispanic activist and leader Cesar Chavez, who is pictured in the painting.

The Kansas State Collegian reported that members of HALO, (Hispanic American Leadership Organization), sang, listened to music and talked about Chavez’s impact on their lives in front of the “We Are the Dream” mural.

Elsa Diaz, the president of HALO at that time, said the mural is significant to minorities on campus because it is the only thing on campus that can give them a sense of belonging. “The mural means a lot to a number of people,” Diaz said. “It is important to people who want to come and worship their heroes.”

A panoramic shot of the room without the mural: Wooden planks run lengthwise along the top two-thirds of the wall while the bottom third is exposed stone.
The fourth floor space after the “We Are the Dream” mural was deinstalled. August 21, 2018.