Editorial: Midterm madness

By By Matt Homer and By Matt Homer

By Matt Homer

The second most dreaded time of the semester is already upon us, and many students are looking for places to study. The traditional location would be the Marriott Library, but with a massive renovation underway, many are going elsewhere. One such alternative is the main branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library. It’s only a few blocks away (210 E. 400 South) and takes a mere nine minutes to reach via TRAX from the U’s South Campus Station. And if you’re in a car, all city meters are free after 6 p.m. and you can find non-metered street parking by driving just one or two blocks south. You can also pay for the library’s underground parking. At the Salt Lake City Library, you’ll find free wireless Internet for your laptops, ample room for study and impressive views of the city. Despite its popularity and constant activity, you’ll also discover it’s a serene place to study. Compare this with the Marriott’s deafening rhythm of drills and jackhammers. Another major difference between the two is setting. Although the Marriott still has a lot of space open for students, most of it is confined to the library’s bottom levels. These areas are comfortable places to study, but their windowless spaces don’t compare with the Salt Lake City Library’s natural light-filled rooms and large windows. The public library wins the battle in terms of noise and setting, but the Marriott has an advantage for desktop computers and operating hours. It’s open from 7 a.m. until midnight, Monday through Thursday, while its counterpart is only open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on those same days. The Marriott also has longer hours on the weekend. For desktop computing, you’ll find more — and higher quality — computers at the Marriott. It also has more software programs. Of course, if you have a laptop, this advantage doesn’t make a difference. The U probably has a faster Internet connection, but the Salt Lake City Library’s wireless has always been more than sufficient for my needs. For those without a wireless card, Ethernet connections are also available.One final comparison involves food. At the Marriott, you are relegated to purchasing Chartwells dining fare, whereas at the public library, you will find a deli, a coffee shop and several good places across the street. Eating in the large atrium is also more pleasant than searching for a table in the Marriott’s “food zone.” Despite these advantages, once the Marriott renovation is completed it’s likely to regain its comparative advantage for students. In the meantime, however, it’s a tradeoff between the Marriott’s extensive hours and computing prowess and the public library’s low noise level, ambiance and multiple food options. It’s also a livelier place to study.If studying at the Marriott is no longer your cup of tea, take a trip down to the Salt Lake City Public library. You won’t be disappointed.