By: Anne Alix, Library Staff
The University Library is a hub of activity throughout the day, always open regardless of any campus closings. Activity starts around 7:30 AM and goes on until 2:00 AM, Sunday through Thursday (6PM on Friday, 8PM on Saturday). During the daylight hours, when you step into the Library there is a buzz of activity and chatter… lots of people stopping in between classes, printing, meeting up with classmates to compare homework just before a class, ideas being born out of group collaborations on projects. It is a hub of social activity… but stick around as the sun starts to set and the transformation begins.
So, what really goes on “after hours” in the Library? One could compare this to the movie “Night at the Museum.”
After the dinner hour a new place begins to evolve as a more determined crowd starts to slowly file in. Backpacks are full, coffee cups replenished, uniforms of pajama pants and sweatshirts are worn, lots of snacks are on hand, study rooms come alive, books find their way off the shelves and projects are born. This crowd is serious–this crowd is here for the long haul.
Starting on the first floor, you will see many groups working together with intensity. It is no longer the social hub seen earlier in the day as students hunker down with white boards and markers mapping out project plans. As you make your way around the first floor, you will see students filing into seats to use computers, arduously working their way through homework and research. The printers light up with activity as papers are completed and a look of relief washes over the faces of students as they gather their final projects. The Mary Tefft White Center fills with students working together on group projects or occasionally with interesting guest speakers and audiences.
Media Tech stands on guard to “save the night” and calm the panic when a late night laptop dies or a deleted paper needs to be retrieved… and then there is the Information Desk where dedicated staff stand by ready to assist with finding a book, an article, research material or to simply offer an encouraging word to break up the intensity of the night.
While traveling slowly up the center stairs the still of the night is noticeable as you make your way to the second floor. There you will see folks tucked away in cubicles writing, reading, and studying. Tutorial Support Services is a buzz of activity as peers assist with final reviews and editing of papers or tutoring in Math and Science. This will start to quiet down as they prepare to close their office at 8 PM (3 PM on Fridays).
As you climb the final steps to the third floor, there is a sense of calm as you feel the silence of that floor. When walking down the aisles between the bookshelves, overhead lights methodically turn on with each step. There is a stillness among the bookshelves as students peppered around in cubicles and all along the outer walls, focus and concentrate. When you stop to take notice, you can hear a pin drop. Everyone around you is intent on their task. You become unconsciously motivated by the concentration around you and it is easy to get “into the zone”.
As 2 AM nears, there is a slow exiting of students from the library, some often expressing that they wish they had just a little more time to finish their work. But it is time to close up shop and let everyone get some rest. It is time for the library to be locked up and to wait once again for the morning crowd to stroll on in.