posted 2011-09-21 13:00:18

Hunter Library Remains Unknown to the School

Photo by Mimiko Watanabe, Art Director
Photo by Mimiko Watanabe
Chloe Sheffer

Contributing Writer

It’s no mystery why Hunter’s Zabar Art Library remains a widely untapped resource. Located on the 16th floor of Hunter North, the library is unseen by most students. With its crisp glass-walled entrance and enticing display of books, the Zabar Library looks unlike any other space at Hunter.

The Judith and Stanley Zabar Art Library is filled with resources for art students and enthusiasts. Although Hunter’s main library still houses the majority of the art collection, the Zabar Library receives the newest additions to the school’s collection, while holding numerous art references books and over 20 art periodicals. The library also offers laptops to borrow, color copying and workshops to learn about resources like ARTstor.

Aside from its vast resources, the library is simply a beautiful space. The rooms are lined with comfortable window seats where students can curl up with a laptop or a book and look over the city. There are new study tables and impressive book displays peppered throughout the clean, well-lit space. It has been able to maintain a near-perfect appearance because it remains untouched by much of Hunter’s student population.

Since its opening in 2008, the school has done little to advertise the library, and consequently most students have no idea it exists.

When asked about the Zabar Art Library, freshman Yevgeniy Berdzenishvili was surprised to know there was more than one library at Hunter. He expressed excitement over the space, stating, “everyone would love to know about a new place to study. The more the merrier."

Other students know about the library, but have kept away because of the inclusion of the word “art.” John Harden, a junior and political science major, said “I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never been there. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to be open to everyone, but I wouldn’t want it to become overcrowded for the sake of the art students.”

While overcrowding is possible for such a small space, the library received only 2,833 visitors during the spring semester of 2011.

Art Librarian Steve Kowalik said, “I’m hoping that with more traffic from art history students, we will increase the use of the library.” He also acknowledged, “We have to keep reality in check in terms of the amount of space we have.”

Art major or not, Zabar is accessible to all students. According to Steve Kowalik, “As long as they are quiet and follow posted rules, I have no objection to any Hunter student in the library.”

Jacky Elder, an assistant staff member at Zabar and senior Studio Art major, said “more people could know about it, but in my art history classes we are encouraged to use it.” She added, “everyone who comes here is very serious about doing what they are doing. We try to encourage quiet policies.”

The focused and purposeful environment of the library is a far cry from some of the floors of the Wexler library where students sometimes go to socialize.

The Zabar Art Library is certainly an appealing, calm place to study, as well as another tool for researching any art topic. However, the library goes an extra, necessary mile to draw-in students. Zabar boasts a rack of books on sale for only $2, a box of free art slides, and even a candy bowl for students on their way in and out.