Back in the Library, Students Find Peace and Productivity Once More

President Robin L. Garrell in the Mina Rees Library

By Bonnie Eissner

In early June, just a few weeks before her doctoral dissertation was due, Trang Pham Kelly, a candidate in the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare, was in the Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. With two young children at home, she said, “I cannot do anything at home. I need private time to have my student life back,” adding, “I feel like this is my home base now.” 

The Graduate Center opened study space in the library to students and faculty on June 7, after closing it last March due to the pandemic. Students and faculty can reserve seats in advance, and 50 seats are available each day, from Monday through Thursday. Since the reopening, around 30 students have reserved seats each day. Many, like Kelly, are delighted to have a quiet place to study and write. 

Others at the Graduate Center expressed their joy in seeing students return. “We’ve worked incredibly hard to provide a full suite of library services and support since the pandemic hit but the sense of the library as place has been hard to duplicate,” said Interim Chief Librarian Emily Drabinski. “Seeing students reading and writing in the calm of the building gives us hope as we plan for a safe return this fall.” 




The library study space is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Day passes must be reserved by 4 p.m. on the preceding day, and are available on a first-come basis. The library plans to restore onsite services on August 2nd, 2021. Library services remain available online only until that point. Books may not be checked out; InterLibrary Loan is circulating electronic materials, not print books.

Learn more and make a reservation online

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Submitted on: JUN 28, 2021

Category: Anthropology | Comparative Literature | COVID-19 | GCstories | General GC News | Social Welfare | Student News | Voices of the GC