Relaxation booths appear in library

The booths are soundproof in order to supply silent study areas. ORACLE PHOTO / MARCELENE PILCHER

To address the concerns with increased stress induced by final exam preparation, USF has placed relaxation booths in various areas across campus.

Roughly 4-square feet with a glass door and lounge-like interior, the relaxation booth in the lobby of the library has piqued the interest of many passing students, according to library assistant Virginia Fowler.

“I’m going to say about 200, 300 people, they go near it,” Fowler said. “Maybe half get in there and check it out.”

An inquisitive student would find a sound-proof booth with a studying area offering a built-in armrest as well as under-seat storage space, optimal network connection and an ideal location to take a phone call, according to Fowler. She said the angled front wall, or “kink,” allows sound to bounce down and away from the user, minimizing reverberation.

“You could chat or just study. What we’ve been seeing here is that people talk on the phone when using it,” Fowler said.

Originally, two booths were placed back to back in the lobby on April 13, but the glass exterior of one of the booths shattered, according to Fowler. She said the damaged booth was replaced early in the morning on April 21.

Jillian Stover, a senior cybersecurity major who regularly uses the library’s facilities, said she sees potential for the implementation of the booths.

“I think it will help me out with being able to study and with quiet space, but it might be kind of distracting because people walking by might look inside,” Stover said.

If relocated to a more secluded area, the booths would offer more utility, according to Stover.

“Maybe in the corner of one of the other floors, somewhere people can’t look in,” Stover said.

Fowler agrees that a location change will be effective. She said a good possible location if another box were to be added would be in the back of the computer area in the library’s ground floor.

The inside of the booth contains a QR code with a survey so that students who use its facilities can provide feedback on its amenities. Based on the survey, Fowler said USF will adjust the booths’ features before expanding outreach.

“I know they’re putting in another one in a building in June, and I hope it’s the MSC,” Fowler said. “They have a lot of traffic as well, and people would use it.”