Hoodies and Stress: the dynamics of a library environment

As a college student, I worked at the circulation desk in the library. One cold December day during finals week, I was sitting at the desk and a professor walked in. Not an unusual occurrence. He approached the desk looking like he was in need of assistance. After a poignant pause, he said: “It smells like hoodies and stress in here.” I cracked up. It was true, and even more entertaining coming from the college’s lone anthropologist.

Most people, like the professor, focus on the academic atmosphere of the library. But a college library is not just place for scholarly activities. It’s a place for introspection, relaxation and, dare I say it, fun? We- student, faculty or staff- all  have informational and special needs ranging from educational to every day, and the library strives to meet those needs.

First, the library meets those needs by providing a comfortable environment. Yes, there is a reason we buy those comfy chairs and couches. It creates a space suitable for late night studying or perusing a magazine. The library’s space also extends outside. The front or back patio has tables ideal for working on a project or chatting with friends. A library space has many different purposes not all discovered yet.

Second, the library provides resources for everyday information and entertainment. The Browsing room contains recent and popular titles. There is a display of daily newspapers and periodicals on the main floor. And we have a growing feature film and music collection. So while the library may not be the place for a heavy metal mosh pit, we can definitely supply the tracks. We have the Black Sabbath album “Live Evil” and band selections available for streaming in Music Online.

On a personal note- thinking about the library environment gives me an idea for a project this spring. Possibly a study on how patrons use the library? Or maybe marketing the diversity of library space?

Anyway, next time you’re trying to get away from work or studying, try the library!

Tips on How to De-stress in Library:

  • Go get coffee or a snack – There is a coffee vending machine on the main floor behind the printers and the snack machines are in the stairwell on the ground floor. There is also a coffee and tea cart that comes out around midnight during the week.

  • Take a nap in the comfy armchairs– There are new ones on the second floor!

  • Get some fresh air on the patio– weather permitting of course

  • Read for fun- If you want to get away from academic reading for a while, visit the Browsing Room to check out the library’s selection of popular titles.

  • Check out the artwork on the second floor

  • Watch a movie on your laptop– visit Gettflix or browse the DVD collection find to a title that interests you. Headphones are available for checkout at the circulation desk.


Tips courtesy of Stephanie Bowen and Lauren Rodener

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