Photo by Luke Nankivell, photo editor
Late at night, walking into the library, you would expect to find a handful of students using the final hours before an exam the next morning and you would expect to find staff packing things up and getting ready to go home. In reality, it is far from that.
As the campus quiets down, the library is just picking up. Its halls and study rooms are buzzing with students finishing projects, hosting study sessions, meeting their study table quotas and cranking out papers. Looking around, almost all the tables are taken. Even the newly renovated Cowles Café is still providing treats for students to munch on until 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Sunday.
“It has been so, so busy,” said Elaine Huang, an employee at Cowles Café, and pointed at the chain of receipts coming out of the register.
Busy schedules make night-time prime study hours for many students. When days are taken up by classes, club meetings, work and hopefully a meal in there somewhere, many times, the night is the only time students are able to sit down and focus on getting their studying done.
First-years Rachel Munoz and Grace Miller are learning the benefits of utilizing the library.
“A night is basically the only time that works for studying with everything going on, and I get easily distracted in the dorms,” Munoz said.
“The good thing about the library is that you are forced to study, and there isn’t a million other distractions. When I come in here I get way more done that I would otherwise,” Miller said.
Upperclassmen also utilized the library for late night studying.
“I spent many late nights in the library my sophomore and junior year. I like the quiet study spaces upstairs,” said senior Meryl Brune.
Prior to last Wednesday, students were kicked out of the library at 1 a.m., and forced to find somewhere else to squeeze in the last of their studying. But now, thanks to the new 24-hour space students can work late into the morning should they choose to do so.
“Originally, the library closed at 1 a.m. every weeknight, so when students were cramming for tests, up late writing essays or working on other homework, they had to go to their lobbies or find other places to study,” said sophomore Student Senate member Emily Grimm. “This became kind of a hindrance so many students appealed to senate and the school to extend library hours. So last year the space was agreed upon to renovate and become the new 24-hour space.”
With the new 24/5 system, it makes it even easier for students to extend their studying even later into the night. Everyone has to leave after the library closes, but students can come right back in with their access card.
After-hours are unstaffed and monitored by video camera, so students are trusted to respect the area and the fact that it is a privilege to use the space past normal library hours with a key they must apply for.
“There is a form you can fill out online at the Cowles Library’s website where it will ask you basic information and to agree to some basic rules. After you are approved you will pick up your card,” said junior Erin Austin, a library student supervisor.
As part of the Cowles staff, Austin is excited about the extended hours.
“Sometimes, when I get off work at 1 (a.m.), I will go to the study space. It is very nice,” Austin said.
Even though the 24-hour space hasn’t been open long, students are already singing its praises.
“I’m in the library for two to three hours Sunday through Wednesday nights,” said first-year law, politics and society major Olivia O’Hea. “I love the reading room because it’s quiet, but well lit, I can’t fall asleep in there!”