Sit down and vote


There is a clear favorite in the Regenstein Library's recent election, but Jim Vaughan, assistant director for access & facilities, doesn't want to publicize it until all votes are counted. Chicago students, faculty, and staff have displayed strong preferences in the 2,377 ballots they've entered, as of Thursday, for the next generation of library chairs. Early on in the March 27–April 7 voting, says library facilities manager John Pitcher, "people were waiting in line" to try each chair and fill out a ballot.

Given $895,000 in capital funds to replace 1,983 reader chairs (purchased in 1989) and to reupholster about 125 club chairs, a library committee narrowed down the choice to three chairs and has left the final decision to Reg users. "It's the students who sit in these chairs seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day," Pitcher notes. Democratic as the process sounds, he's seen evidence of "voting irregularities," such as "bundles of ballots plainly inserted all at once, in the same handwriting, all for the same chair." Still, in true Chicago fashion, they're counting every vote.

All three chairs have black fabric with goldish specks. Number 1 has a cushioned back and a metal seat frame instead of plywood; Number 2, also with a cushioned back, is the "more traditional" style, Pitcher says; and Number 3 has a leather back.

Select voter comments:

Number 1:
"Yay, lumbar support!"
"I think 1 is a bit too prone to letting one fall asleep."
"Style #1 pitches me forward—it’s uncomfortable."

Number 2:
"Style #2 was an ergonomic and truly sensual experience. Loved every second of it."
"#2 is good, others suck. Bring us #2."
"Give me cushion or give me death."

Number 3:
"#3 is light, stylish, and modern."
"#3 is comfortable and light, but the back seems like it would wear out pretty quickly."
"#3 has no back support."


Photo: Fourth-year biology major Leila Vaez-Azizi tries out the options. "I prefer the old chairs," she says. Voting ends today.

Photo by Dan Dry.

April 7, 2006