Blackmore Library, Capital most popular study destination, sees a large influx in traffic during finals week of each semester.
In order to accommodate students studying throughout the night, Blackmore extends its operational hours until 2:00 a.m.
Many students feel that Blackmore transitions from a prime study spot to a ‘social hour.’ However, it appears that not a whole lot can be done in response, as the larger traffic is inevitable.
Luke Wills, senior, a circulation assistant in Blackmore, has witnessed the increased traffic every finals week since he has been here.
“There is an evident increase, especially in the later hours starting around 8-9:00 p.m.,” Wills said. “People start flocking in not only to study but to socialize.”
Jason Crouse, senior, uses the library to study, as he commutes to campus.
“Honestly, it gets difficult to find a private space in the library,” Crouse said. “Earlier in the year, it’s not as bad but during finals week computers, study rooms, and even third floor space is hard to find, especially those with outlets.”
Other students see the increase in noise as inevitable and somewhat inadvertent.
“It can be disruptive because more people mean more talking,” Ali Bader, senior, said. “… You meet with people for a project and you get distracted, but [the conversations are] usually finals focused.”
Matthew Cook, information services librarian, believes that university libraries across the nation are seeing more collaboration.
“… Traditionally libraries were seen as spaces of quiet study,” Cook said. “[T]rends in academic libraries have moved steadily toward more collaborative spaces. This use of the space often reflects the kind of collaborative work happening in university classrooms.”
Crouse, who prefers to study privately so as not to be distracted, thinks it’s on the students to try to avoid socializing in the library.
“As much as I love my friends, I wouldn’t want to be with them in the library because they would distract me while I’m studying, so I like to study by myself,” Crouse said.
Wills also believes that the distractions are inevitable, as the volume will generally increase with the greater number of students in the library. However, as an employee at the library, he feels the staff is properly prepared to handle the increased traffic.
“Yes, to an extent, the increase in volume is slightly overwhelming, but it is our job so [the staff] is used to it,” Wills said.
Wills sympathizes most with students who regularly use the library to study, as their experience can be compromised by the noise level.
“Yeah, at times it does become a social hour [since] I’ll look into a corner and see groups of people socializing and distracting each other,” Wills said.
Crouse also agrees that the library devolves into a ‘social hour’ during finals week.
“As you get enough people here that know each other, it’s going to get less productive. It not only influences the people socializing but everyone else using space as well,” Crouse said.
However, Wills said that he and other library employees are taking the necessary steps to improve the studying experience of students this finals week.
“Reference librarians are taking steps to accommodate [and] to give patrons more space with a larger seating area,” Wills said. “The staff is doing a lot to prepare for what students typically find to be a stressful finals week.”
Cook said that, to meet student expectations, the library will continue, “to improve all its spaces and … to be responsive to students’ needs through efforts such as our recent Library Space Use Survey.”
This semester, the library will once again be extending its hours during finals week. On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the library will be open until 2:00 a.m. However, it will presume regular hours until Dec. 6, when it will have extended hours until Dec. 8.