Dear Milton,
I have to say, I’m at a loss. It’s exam period and library space, particularly at night, is pretty scarce. In spite of this fact, I have seen a lot of people taking up much more space than they need with miscellaneous books, papers, ipods, scarves, etc. This kind of sprawl is annoying to people, like me, who are just looking for a place to sit and do their work. In the rare cases when I do see and empty chair it is inevitably surrounded by spread out notes and books, and the sprawler is no where to be found! Pretty frustrating. Can I move this unsightly sprawl to make room for myself?
Sick of Sprawl

Dear SOS,

Library sprawl is, indeed, a problem. At this time of year, people bring in everything they need to MSEL: mp3 players, notebooks, textbooks, laptops, caffeine-laden beverages in covered containers. If you notice an egregious case of sprawl next to an open seat, I would suggest kindly making that particular defender of manifest destiny aware that his or her belongings are barring other students from using an open space. The student is probably not even aware that he or she is taking up that much room and will be happy to make some room for you and your study tools!

Milton understands that, with study space so hard to find, students often purposely leave behind some belongings to mark their spot, even if they plan to be gone a long time. Manners (and common sense) dictate that you should try not to leave your belongings alone at MSEL or any other public space. Apart from taking up valuable room that other students would like to use, theft happens … even in libraries. Please keep an eye on your belongings and take them with you when you leave the building.

Unfortunately, Milton cannot advocate moving other peoples’ belongings, even when seats are in such short supply. Aware that space is a real issue during exams, the gracious librarians at MSEL have brought in extra folding chairs. You will see them scattered about the building, particularly on M-Level. Feel free to take these to any available table space you can find.



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