New site aims to help students find study spots

The website, Study Space Finder, launched earlier this month.

by Precious Fondren

The University Of Minnesota Office of Information Technology launched a new website to help students find campus study spaces this month.

The Study Space Finder website, launched Oct. 2, shows users a map of nearby study spots, along with photos of the locations and descriptions of seating availability and noise level. Officials say they want to update the site in the near future to include more features based on student feedback.

Kate Peterson, undergraduate services librarian, said the site was inspired by a similar app at the University of Washington. University Libraries and the Office of Classroom Management worked on the idea for about two years.

In past years, some departments listed information about their study spaces online, said Daniel Sward, University Services geographic information systems coordinator who worked on the website.

“The feeling was students needed a place online to find study spaces, regardless of which University department owns the space,” Sward said. 

Anyone can use the site to view photos and a map of various study spots, including coffee shops and computer labs. The site also tells users whether the space has natural light, outlets or appliances like microwaves.

Claire Stewart, associate University librarian for research and learning, approved the website’s creation. 

“We wanted to do everything we could to make sure that not just the libraries, but any and all study spaces on campus were easier to find,” she said. 

Peterson said they took a guess on how loud some study spaces were to assess noise level. 

“There are some designated areas in the library for example, that are very specifically meant to be quiet study areas, so we did kind of our best guess,” she said.

The finder was originally planned to be an app, but for multiple reasons Peterson and her team decided a website format was the best option. 

Going forward, Peterson hopes to expand the site to include more campus study spaces. 

“We’ve gotten just a bunch, probably over 20 or 30, suggestions on places that should be in this website, so we’re just trying to come up with a process to do that,” she said. 

Additionally, officials are looking to make other changes based on feedback, like adding a feature to reserve group study spaces directly from the site, Peterson said.

Third-year student Choua Lee has used the website to find study spaces, and wants officials to consider ways to make it more user-friendly in the future.

“I’m hoping it progresses into becoming an app so students can have easier access to it,” Lee said.