I spend a lot of time in the library. My friends have joked that I should push my bed over to the library so I can sleep there, since I basically live at Penfield. The location on my Twitter says, “Probably at the library.” Between the hours I spend tutoring (at the Writing Center on the third floor) and the hours I spend studying, I am at the library more than 20 hours a week.
I know my way around Penfield.
Students who have not gone to the library all year long will soon be going to cram in some last-minute work before finals. These are the students who will be committing some library faux-pas in the coming weeks. I have got some pointers for these library newbies to help finals week go a little smoother.
During finals week, there are more students in the library running on less sleep who have the most work they have had all semester. Even worse, they are all hoping for the same thing: a table with an outlet. Looking for outlets in the library is like looking for an oasis in the desert—it’s almost hopeless.
Before you snag that rare table with an outlet, there are a few things you should consider. First, do you really need your laptop? If all you have to do is read or study, you can get by without it. It’s probably better you don’t have it—you would probably just get distracted by Facebook or Tumblr anyway. If you do need your laptop, the second thing you have to think about is how long you will be at the library. If you are only going to be there for two hours, and your laptop battery lasts for eight, why would you need an outlet? Sit somewhere else and save the outlets for those who really need them. If you do need an outlet, think about how many people you need to seat. If it’s only you and you take one of the tables with the comfy chairs during finals week, everyone will hate you. There are four outlets on those tables; the tables elsewhere only have two. Either you take up three outlets you do not need, or just one— that’s a no-brainer. Yes, those other tables don’t have comfy chairs, but do not be selfish. Everyone is just as stressed as you are and finding that outlet that you sacrificed could be the thing that gets someone through their finals week.
If you do not want to be late for everything during finals week, you have to be punctual at the library. Many people think they can get to the library at any time to print, buy coffee or find a table and it will be fine. It will not. During the day, the library has times of high and low volume. If you do not know those like clockwork, you are going to be wasting a lot of time.
Since most people only come to the library to go to Lake Effect Café or use the quick print station, I will start there. This one is simple: if you come between five and 15 minutes before a class is about to start, you are going to be waiting in line. If you think you can print your paper at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday and get to your 9:35 a.m. class on time, think again. The same goes for buying a quick cup of coffee. The best way to avoid the lines is to just get there earlier.
During the week, it is hard to predict when there will be a lot of tables open, because the turnover rate is high as people go to and from classes. But if you manage to get to the library before noon on a Saturday or a Sunday, you are pretty much guaranteed a table with an outlet. I know you probably like to sleep in too, but if you want to scoop the rest of the Oswego State population, then you need to get out of bed and snatch that table with the comfy chairs.
Even students that have not been in the library since their first tour of Oswego State know that libraries are quiet places. The librarians do not shush people that often in Penfield, but your fellow students will want you to shut up if you are making more noise than you should be. You can be louder in some places than others in the library, and you need to know which are which.
If you need to talk a lot, stay on the 1st floor. If you just want to chat with your friends occasionally, you can go up to the 2nd floor. If you have to do anything more than whisper every once in a while, do not go to the 3rd floor. People go to the 3rd floor for a quiet space to work. They will not hesitate to tell you you’re being too loud and they have a right to be rude about it. It is called the quiet floor for a reason.
When it comes down to it, all you really need to do to survive finals week in the library is to be considerate. Keep in mindthere are a few thousand of us and, from Lakeside to West Campus, we all share this one library. Let’s try to keep things civil in one of the few places on campus where the entire community of Oswego State can commiserate during the worst weeks of our college careers: finals week.