by James Hearne
The feeling is almost universal. Finals are looming, and you need more time to study, finish off that final project, or put the final touches on that paper you’ve been killing yourself over. It’s 8:15 p.m., though, and the library closes at 9 o’clock sharp. How will you ever finish everything you need to do in that amount of time? If only you had just a little longer.
Not to worry. For the past four years, the Whatcom Community College student government has sponsored what is called “Late nights at the library,” which, in essence allows the library to stay open an extra hour (until 10 pm), for five days during finals. In addition they provide coffee, tea, and baked goods.
Linda Lambert, the library director, said that this is a common practice on many college and university campuses. Western Washington University has “Dead Week,” the week before finals, where its library is open until midnight on the weekend. Whatcom’s program is unique in that it serves treats.
The response from students? “We get lots of comments flung our way saying that they love it,” Lambert says.
The comment they receive the most is a simple “Thank you.”
Catherine Gundred, a librarian at the check-out desk, said she sees how that extra hour can help people, while the snacks and beverages can provide a little boost.
Gundred says that the librarians try to listen to what the students want in terms of snacks, and have a sign-up sheet for baking duties. The treats, which mainly consist of baked goods, are always a hit, she said. They try to keep different dietary needs in mind, such as vegan recipes.
Gundred says that this event is possible thanks to the student body, particularly the student government, which allocates the funds necessary for ingredients for the treats, coffee, and tea. There is no overtime pay; instead, work schedules are rearranged to cover the extra hour.
“It’s a team effort here,” Gundred says.
Part of the reason for the refreshments is to get students away from the computers or their books, and encourage them to socialize, Gundred said. It’s “so they don’t isolate themselves,” she said.
“It’s just a pleasant evening.”
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