Tis’ the season when the two-word phrase that college students often dread more than any other is Finals Week. Students rush to get last minute projects in, study like crazy and get ready for the seemingly never ending exams. I clearly remember when I was in college the craziness and the emotional stress a student goes through at this time of year. Throw the holidays on top of it and well you have quite the lethal combination of meltdown and insanity. The difference from when I was in college vs. now is the role libraries are playing to help assuage the anxiety many students feel this time of year. College libraries across the country are now throwing what some fondly call “Stress Buster Week”. Depending on the library activities these can range from coloring pages (a big hit in my library), legos, and Play dough to rock climbing walls and Xbox gaming. These are things students can do that require no cerebral thinking or analyzing. The library has not only become a place to study but a place to go to just simply exist and not to have to think to hard. Many libraries also offer tea, coffee and hot chocolate with snacks to fuel those all nighters. This year I am re-branding my library beverage table as the Sheldon Cooper’s Hot Beverage Station. If I could play ‘Soft Kitty” gently in the background I would.
Some libraries are lucky enough to bring in therapy dogs into the library. I have spoken to several librarians who do this on their campuses and this is a HUGE hit with the students. Another cool feature I have seen some libraries do is the silent dance party. This is where you can have a DJ come in with his set up using head phones for all the participants. This way they only hear the music via wifi and doesn’t disturb other patrons (unless they all start signing really loudly). My library for the past two semesters has been lucky enough to offer free yoga and meditation for the students which has been slowly catching on.
Libraries have come along way in such a short period of time and I am happy to be a part of this tradition of supporting our students during a time filled with deadlines, cramming, endless cups of coffee and sleepless nights. What does your library do for finals week?