Cornell University Puts Lawns inside Its Libraries

For many college students, this is a stressful time filled with exams and term paper deadlines. To help relieve stress and create an atmosphere conducive to studying, Cornell University laid sod inside two of its libraries. Gilad Meron, a recent graduate, conceived and executed the project:

This year lawns were placed in both the Mann and Olin libraries, as well as three other locations around campus, as part of the Cognitive Restoration initiative. The project is based on Attention Restoration Theory, which says that direct exposure to nature, viewing nature through windows, and even viewing images of nature are restorative.

To create the installation, Meron used a heavy duty tarp, fastened with duct tape, to protect the floor underneath. Sod, donated by Saratoga Sod Farm, was laid above the tarp, and the lawn only needs daily watering to last about two weeks. (Access to sunlight is the limiting factor.) Since the sod and work were donated, the lawn is very affordable: the only costs are for the tarp, tape, and transportation of the sod.

According to two library administrators, students thoroughly enjoyed the indoor/outdoor experience:

Ferretti and Tancheva agree, the lawns in both Mann and Olin libraries saw a lot of use, and got a lot of positive student comment. “We put up flip charts and invited patrons to comment. So far the response is overwhelmingly positive,” said Tancheva, and student comments indicate that they found the lawn useful, not just pleasant, with comments such as “Green relieves tension and eye strain,”  “Keeps me sane,” and “The color and additional oxygen makes it more conducive to studying.”

Link | Photo: Library Journal

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