Moffitt Library has long been a popular study spot, but overcrowding and seat hogging has become a sore topic for some UC Berkeley students.
Dubbed “one of the busiest libraries on campus” by the campus library website, Moffitt is food-and-drink friendly, has talking and nontalking floors and is open for long hours. Finding an open seat is not easy, and many students are frustrated with others leaving notebooks or jackets on unattended seats to reserve them for hours at a time.
“I’ve definitely noticed people leaving their stuff on a chair and leaving the library for class or something else,” said campus junior Nela Taeb. “For a small amount of time, it’s ok, but three hours is a little extra because some people only need the space for an hour or 30 minutes and that spot could be useful to them.”
Taeb noted that she doesn’t really mind people leaving their things as sometimes she leaves her own bag on her chair while going downstairs, getting food, or using the restroom.
Akshara Shankar, a campus sophomore who left her bag to save her seat when I spoke to her, emphasized the necessity of saving your spot at times.
“I’ve been in Moffitt since 10 a.m. and I had a 30-minute meeting close to Moffitt, so leaving my bag seemed like an ideal option,” Shankar said. “If I hadn’t, my spot would be gone, or my chair would be stolen.”
According to Shankar, Moffitt is always crowded, so saving seats doesn’t cause a big problem.
Jackie Pantoja, campus senior and Moffitt circulation desk staff, described some of the problems created by saving seats.
“We notice that a lot of times study rooms will be left without any chairs because people pull them from the rooms to outside,” Pantoja said. “We can’t really do anything about it but it adds to the whole issue of overcrowding that happens in the common areas.”
Shankar noted that she understood the frustrations and suggested a time limit for how long people could leave their things.
Pantoja agreed that having some sort of consequence for leaving things unattended might discourage people from saving seats for extended periods of time. She added that while the problem is well known, it would be hard to implement such a policy.
Other potential solutions could be to open more student study spaces with food and talking allowed, add more tables and chairs in Moffitt or encourage use of smaller and lesser-used libraries on campus, according to Taeb and Pantoja.
“It’s hard because it should be first come first serve, but if you leave your spot then someone should be allowed to use it.” Pantoja said. “So when people hog those spaces it’s hard — but also it’s hard to take their stuff out and put it somewhere else.”