Disappointments in the Edu-factory

In reference to Tessa’s much-appreciated post about mental fatigue and self-care, I would have to diagnose myself as nearly burnt to a crisp on the burnout scale. My burnout, however, is specific to a particular type of library setting: the Great American University. To be perfectly honest, I find myself exhausted by the increasingly corporate culture pervading campus. Just the other day at the Research Assistance desk, I was approached by a student with her intro-level history assignment in hand and upon reading the document for context, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Along with requirements and expectations, the project was prefaced with an overly utilitarian justification for assigning a research-oriented assignment.

To paraphrase, the main rationalization behind the assignment was to prepare students to meet the analytical and information-seeking expectations of the job market. Sound familiar? It shouldn’t be hard to recall instances where this type of education-as-job-prep rhetoric has appeared, whether it be in previous courses or even library instruction. And to be frank, I’m really sick of it. When did the Great American University begin to prioritize student marketability over intellectual cultivation? When did job preparedness rather than individual growth become the main goal of academic institutions? When did corporate values replace academic ideals within higher education?

The moment this existential shift emerged within the university setting can be observed if we take a brief sojourn into American history. In the early 1970’s, nearly three-fourths of college freshmen indicated college attendance was essential to them in order to develop a meaningful, more well-rounded philosophy on life while only a third indicated financial well-being as the prime motivator for admission. Since then, those fractions have dramatically swapped (Berrett). So what happened? In the wake of the Cold War, higher education underwent a major structural adjustment influenced partly by the broader socio-political shift toward free-market orthodoxy, economic strain, and an increasing linkage between university operational budget and industry-related contracts (Berrett). It is at this point that corporate culture hijacked the traditional academic values. Thus was born the edu-factory in which “students are neither ‘customers’ nor ‘consumers’. They are the ‘industry’s’ ‘inputs’ and ‘product.’ The purchasers of the products—private, corporate ‘employers’—are the customers” (Rhoades & Slaughter 14).

Thus began the desperate pitch for the continuing relevance of liberal arts education in the wake of this reorientation towards economic competitiveness of its products (i.e. students). Although corporate interests ultimately stand as the beneficiaries of university efforts, student recruitment is also important for drawing in enough raw product for the university-manufacturer to ultimately yield its finished goods. While higher education was once lauded for developing young people’s potential—to think, to question, to reason—today it is instead presented to students as vocational training, to the point that these corporate values become widely-accepted and even expected by students. As a part of this recruitment strategy, universities offer world-class amenities, among which the university library stands as a major selling point. At my most cynical (and trust me, I’ve been feeling pretty cynical these days), the academic library merely signifies a marketing hook on a university’s recruitment brochures. For the corporate consumers of the student-product, on the other hand, the library represents a reliable brand which provides a type of collateral to hiring said student-product. And Area Studies librarianship—the field I am (was?) interested in pursuing—then would allow the university to check off its “‘multiculturalism”’ box and prove its ability to form a globally competitive workforce to both potential students and corporate interests. So then, where does that leave us future librarians?

It is impossible to completely detach the work we do as librarians, even when engaged in library instruction, from the “context of contemporary labor, capital, and the corporatizing university” (Eisenhower & Dolsy 306). I do not deny that many librarians are engaged in critical pedagogies that at times serve as alternatives to this corporate narrative. But I have to ask myself if information specialists and their critical approaches to teaching and library practices are even making a dent in the prevailing corporate culture. These thoughts I have been grappling with as of late are perfectly encapsulated by Eisenhower & Dolsy’s line of questioning: “What kind of work does our defiant speech do? Is it defiant enough? Is it defiant at all, or simply the expected questioning spirit that is finally disciplined by power arbitrarily executed?” (314).

-Catherine Fonseca

 

Works Cited

Berrett, Dan. “The Day the Purpose of College Changed: After February 28, 1967, the main reason to go was to get a job.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 61 (2015). Accessed online: http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Day-the-Purpose-of-College/151359/

Eisenhower, Cathy, and Dolsy Smith. “The library as “stuck place”: Critical pedagogy in the corporate university.” Critical library instruction: Theories and methods (2010): pp. 305-18.

Rhoades, Gary, and Sheila Slaughter. “Academic Capitalism, Managed Professionals, and Supply Side Higher Education.” Social Text 51 (1997): pp. 9-38

Ephemera and Librarians as Scholars

As I’m sure many of my colleagues remember from my many emails requesting shift coverage, I recently attended a conference. The theme of this year’s Nineteenth Century Studies Association’s conference was “The New and the Novel.” The conference is interdisciplinary and welcomes scholarship that explores all nations. In addition to panels centered around my interest in American and British literature, I learned about French etiquette, Australian brush fires, and American national portraiture.

One of the more interesting presentations I attended engaged my interest in ephemera. A woman was beginning a study on a specific 19th century ballad. She traditionally studied 18th century literature so she was new to navigating the world of ephemeral resources. I use a lot of old newspapers, broadsides, and other ephemeral works in my writing, so I can understand the difficulty she faced as I have had to learn how to find these resources myself. Neither of my departments (English or ILS) has taught me how to locate these materials and I often resort to combing through searches that return thousands of hits.

I have since been in touch with this scholar and she has asked me if I can keep an eye out for ballads and song sheets related to her subject. I would like to, but where do I begin?

This is a different type of request than we usually receive from scholars. It is not a single question, a research consultation, or a request to help navigate a specific database. Library science is a service field and we are more accustomed to helping patrons in this way. How do we then treat these requests from scholars who treat librarianship as a type of scholarship? These requests suggest we establish a more long-term relationship rather than a limited series of exchanges. How long do we stay in contact with these patrons? How much work do we put into assisting them if they are not “our” (i.e. our library’s) patrons? Do we do extra research outside any that we are already doing or do we email whenever we happen to stumble upon something of interest?

This brings up interesting questions, ones I believe some of us will encounter as we attend conferences, work with patrons who are visiting on fellowships, and move from one job to another (hopefully keeping in contact with patrons from our last institution).

On a last note, if anyone knows anything about databases of ephemera, broadside ballads, or songs sheets from the late 18th and 19th centuries, will you let me know?

-Steph Luke

Lessons Learned

The end of the year is upon us, and while the summer is just a short break until next fall for many, some of us will not be returning. (Pause for tears.) I graduate in May along with a number of my peers in the Department of Information and Library Science who worked behind the reference desk with me, and I am given over to reflect on my time working reference and instruction at the Herman B Wells Library. I have learned a lot in my time here. I learned from my instructors, peers, supervisors at various jobs, but I also learned quite a bit from the students and patrons I have served the past two years. I wish to share with you a little bit of what I will take away from my time behind the reference desk.

First, I have had to learn to control my outward show of emotion. I have been told by past supervisors that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I have had to learn to wear a metaphorical jacket to cover those sleeves. This way when a well-meaning patron decides they need to teach me the most ineffective way to search for resources, I can calmly say, “Well, what if we try using this database instead and using this search term and just see what we get,” without any hint of amusement. This also helps on the reverse when I have failed to understand a patron’s needs until well into the conversation and have just wasted their already limited time. Showing frustration or getting upset helps no one and does not solve the problem.

Second, I have learned humility. As a budding “information specialist” I often wanted to believe I could answer all patron questions and help them find the resources they needed. That is until one of the Kelly students or, my favorite, medical science students asks you something using words you have never heard before and you have to repeatedly ask them to spell sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. (I promise, it’s a real thing.) It is at these moments I have learned to swallow my pride and refer them to someone who knows where to find the top five companies worldwide who posted the highest third quarter earnings in 2006. Alas, unlike my wife, I do not know everything. (Just don’t tell her I admitted it.)

Third, I learned procrastination is alive and well. I am not alone in my devotion to it, and it in fact has many adherents whose faith is far greater than my own. I would venture to estimate that 8 out of 10 requests for an article or book are needed for assignments due the next day or, and I have had more of these than I can count, assignments due that very same day. I have therefore had to learn to remain calm and think outside the box a bit. This has meant sending patrons to the Monroe County Public Library or even Barnes and Noble. There are few feelings in life as good as when you have helped save a fellow procrastinator from themselves.

I will end with this. I have learned so many more things in my time working the reference desk here at the Hermie B library than I could mention in a single blog post. I have learned about a plethora of different subjects from so many different fields of study, many of which I know I never would have if not for the patrons seeking help. Most importantly, I learned that working in an academic library is what I want to do with my life, and I have my peers, superiors, instructors, and also the patrons of the library to thank. So, to you all, I say a heart felt thank you.

-David K. Kloster

 

Fist-bumps for the Fraud and Heretic, or Learning One’s Own Faith

A few weeks ago, a student came to the reference desk for help finding articles on cerebral palsy and education with text-to-speech technologies. I felt as though I had been flailing about in my efforts to assist him, jumping around from database to database–here, in OneSearch, now in ERIC–much like an inexperienced gymnast trying to perform a routine without breaking anyone’s legs. I felt this way, yet the student seemed to find the interaction extremely valuable, thanking me for all my help. Returning to the reference desk after checking out some books, he even gave me my first fist-bump of approval on paid time, a thank-you for flailing. The mismatch between his experience of the interaction and my internal feelings could hardly be more pronounced.

Much has already been said about the spectres of impostor syndrome, the sense that one is faking it and scandalously getting away with it, roaming large in library land. Even before I began my hunt for library jobs and other exotic birds, I’ve often felt like an outsider–not because of any kind of ostracization, of course, but because I end up feeling out of my league, out of my element, or otherwise out of sync with the zeitgeist. Job postings can only exacerbate such feelings, with entry-level positions seeming to require 3-5 years of experience, advanced skills in virtual-reality ninjutsu, and a PhD in Critical Critical Studies all out of the gate.

I don’t have any magic tricks to share for making impostor syndrome disappear, unfortunately, but for my own part, I’ve been learning to take stock of my successes to counteract it. Through my work here as a reference assistant and a student, I’ve also been slowly coming to realize I can do well, and maybe even thrive and excel, as a librarian not in spite of my sense of being an outsider, but perhaps in good part because of it. Indeed, it might be my not feeling quite at home in the world of libraries, of not belonging, that itself becomes the grounds for a sense of belonging and purpose for me as a librarian.

-Dean Ericksen

A Reminder for Impartiality

The other day as I sat at the West Tower circulation desk here at Wells, I was approached by two young men. While the shorter of the two hung back with a smirk on his face, the other one proceeded to ask (quite loudly, as if he had never been in a building before) whether or not the library had any pornography. Surely this young man was joking, trying to get a rise out of me. I committed little effort to helping this man and simply directed him to the Kinsey Institute because again… surely he was not serious. It only took a half hour for me to see the error of my ways.

It was at that time that another young man came to me asking for pornography. Thinking that something had to be going on, I conducted a reference interview (which is something I realize I should have done with the first guy). It was through this reference interview that I came to understand, as an assignment in a gender studies class, students were tasked with finding academic sources focused on pornography and how it affected society as a whole. Once I was able to legitimately help this individual, the shame in how I had treated the first patron soon overwhelmed me. My assumptions had prevented me from effectively helping an individual with a legitimate reference question. While I am not proud of the way I handled that first situation, I hope my errors can serve as a reminder to us all that as librarians we must suspend our judgments and preconceived notions the moment we start our shifts. This reminder for impartiality, however, can go further than just the reference desk. Impartiality and the suspension of judgment should be the foundation of any interaction we have regardless of the state of our relationship with the person, be it stranger, friend, or spouse. The sooner we as a society can open our ears, hear what needs to be said, and work together toward a solution, the sooner we can achieve an inclusive and understanding society.

-Brian Plank

Thanksgiving Spirit, Revisited

Thanksgiving has come and passed, leaving the majority of us stuffed and satiated. Yet, as finals week looms like the darkest of clouds, poised to seep the remaining life force from students, it strikes me that perhaps we shouldn’t be so hasty to put the spirit of Thanksgiving to rest. Rather, I suggest we take a moment—librarians and students alike—to appreciate and give thanks for the vast resources our libraries provide.

Too often is access to information taken for granted, a circumstance that rings especially true in the case of America’s technology-driven society. With powerful search engines and personal devices permeating our everyday lives, access to information largely goes unchallenged. Such is the relative ease with which we access information in this country that the issue of non-access is all but rendered inconceivable. Not once at the Wells reference desk have I informed a patron a resource was completely unavailable. Services offered by IU Libraries like inter-library loan (with a two-day turnaround), document delivery (with a week-long turnaround), and purchase requests nearly always fulfill information needs. Oftentimes, however, even these relatively quick retrieval periods are considered too slow by patron standards. I couldn’t begin to guess the number of students who have approached the reference desk needing resources for their assignment due the very next day. This reveals a certain expectation held by the millennial generation that information should be instantly accessible and probably points to a common belief that the general facility with which we find information is enjoyed everywhere. Yet it is important to acknowledge that this is not always the case and that our ease in accessing resources is a luxury of circumstance more so than an extensive norm.

If your Thanksgiving resembles mine, there’s always one cantankerous relative who spouts some version of the timeworn adage “You don’t know how good you’ve got it”, proceeded by an anecdote repeated for the umpteenth time regaling the hard times of yesteryear. And while a solid eye-rolling is the appropriate response accorded by tradition, there certainly is truth in the saying. A great many of us don’t truly realize the privileges we enjoy by living in a highly-developed country. One such privilege is our information infrastructure. The United States boasts one of the largest national library systems in the world (an estimated 120,096 libraries of various types); our country is practically inundated with libraries and archival depositories when compared to the dearth of information services found in developing or transitional countries.

I was confronted with the implications of this disparity a few years ago while living abroad for a year in Peru. I attended PUCP, the top-ranked university in the nation and one of the twenty-five best universities in Latin America. Despite such accolades, I was absolutely shocked at the modest size of the single university library on campus. Having attended IU during my undergrad, I was thoroughly spoiled, expecting a much more extensive collection than what I found. PUCP’s library holds roughly 130,000 books and has access to 38 databases–a paltry figure when compared to the collection held at Indiana University. Frustrated with the lack of relevant material available for my research topic (the subject matter, funnily enough, pertained to Peruvian poetry), I turned to IU’s online repository of journals and e-books as my main source of documentation.

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The three-story library on the PUCP campus in Lima, Peru
Well Library: a real whopper by comparison

Here in Bloomington, we are fortunate to attend a school with not one, but roughly twenty-five library or archival institutions. That number does not even begin to cover the broader network IU Libraries integrates through online databases, the libraries of statewide campuses, and other academic library systems. At IU, students can access more than 800 databases, 60,000 electronic journal titles, and 815,000 e-books, along with non-digital holdings on campus as well as through IU’s seven other regional campuses. To make a truly illustrative comparison of the disparity in information infrastructure, our Wells Library alone—featuring a collection of roughly 3 million books—holds more physical publications than the entire Mexican National Library (a holding size of 1.25 million documents) and the Chilean National Library (a holding size of 1.1 million documents) combined!

The intent of this post is not to be didactic in nature, calling on you to extol the virtue of the United States and chide anyone who dares to want more from our libraries or nation at large. Rather, my purpose in writing was to express my own amazement at the sheer amount of information to which we have access and the incredible potential of that bounty. Perhaps growing up as a child of an immigrant, this interests me on a personal level. My own grandmother is illiterate, my grandfather did not receive an education beyond the equivalent of the sixth grade, and while my father is a fairly successful software engineer, he is completely self-taught and did not attend college. I look at the profound differences between these three generations, my own included, and it is staggering. I’ve heard about the hardships my grandparents had to endure throughout their lives, of the difficulties my father faced upon emigrating to the US, and I contrast it to my own circumstance, so very privileged by comparison. This generational evolution within my family, I believe, is almost entirely the consequence of increased access to information.

Information stands as a vehicle to education and the liberation that follows that education, and I lament the fact that the ease with which many people in this country can access information is not a global standard. So, in this post-Thanksgiving season, I’m grateful. Grateful to be a part of IU Libraries, an institution which promotes the culture of learning. Grateful to those patrons who utilize the information resources offered by our libraries. Grateful for the ways in which information access has improved the circumstances of my family and others. I guess I’m just really grateful.

—Catherine Fonseca
Suggested readings:

Global Library Statistics.” OCLC, 2014.

Havard-Williams, P. “Libraries and Information In Developing Countries.” IATUL Proceedings, 1981.

Menard, Laura. “Information Atrocities: Records and Memory in Post-Dictatorship Latin America.” Diss. University of North Carolina, 2011.

Ugah, Akobundu D. “Obstacles to information access and use in developing countries.” Library Philosophy and Practice, 2007.

 

A Confused Library User Turned Library Advocate

My first few years as an undergraduate were marked by an uneasy relationship with the school’s campus library. Every semester, as research papers and assignments rolled around, I dreaded the point when I would have to sit down and use our library’s website to start looking for sources on whatever topic I’d chosen. Outside of our book catalog and OneSearch article database, with which I was generally familiar, I was overwhelmed by the extensive lists of databases, digital collections, and journal titles all over our website. I never knew where to start, or how exactly they differed from one another, and usually decided for sanity’s sake to stick with the catalog and OneSearch for my research, ignoring the rest. While I could usually find enough sources to meet the basic assignment requirements with these two, my searches always felt painstakingly long and difficult. I knew there were a lot of potentially great sources I was missing out on, but I simply had no idea how to get that information.

Despite my persistent frustration with our library, I never bothered to ask anyone for help. I knew we had a Reference Desk at our library, but I always assumed that was where people went to get directional assistance, or if they couldn’t find a particular book they wanted, and that wasn’t exactly the problem I was facing. I didn’t want someone to simply find sources for me; I wanted someone to show me how to use our website more effectively and how to find relevant sources without spending ages combing through catalog result lists that mostly included completely irrelevant sources. I definitely didn’t think the Reference Desk could help me with that.

It wasn’t until I actually landed a job working at our Reference Desk that I realized how completely wrong I’d been about library reference services. Not only could the Reference librarians show me how to use our catalog, databases, and online collections more effectively, they were by far the best people I could turn to for help. I learned so much from simply talking to the different reference librarians I worked alongside and getting their feedback on how to do research in our library, but what struck me the most was how happy they were to share their knowledge, both with me and with anyone who came up to the desk. The librarians I worked with all understood trying to navigate through all of our resources and actually use the library to do research could sometimes be really frustrating, especially for anyone new to the library. They consistently went out of their way to work with students to figure out what problems they were having, and ultimately what tools and skills would best meet their needs and allow them to use the library’s resources effectively on their own.

The two years I spent working at the Reference Desk were what led me to enter the field of librarianship. I had learned so much about all our library had to offer, and I wanted to be able to share that with other students who might be struggling with using the library the same way I had. But I was also motivated to enter librarianship because I only learned about what the Reference Department did and the services it offered once I actually started working there. I knew from talking with other students and peers that many of them were just as unclear about what the Reference department was as I had been, and this made me question whether a deeper disconnect existed between the services our libraries have to offer and what students think their libraries have to offer. And that disconnect is surely affecting the impact we have – after all, how could anyone expect students to use the library, or even simply ask librarians for help, if they don’t really understand who we are, what we do, and what we have to offer?

While I’ve only just started working towards a career in librarianship, I hope to become a part of the conversation on how librarians can break down some of those barriers – and perhaps in doing so, I can help turn a few more wary students into empowered library patrons and advocates.

-Sarah Klimek

Pictures Worth Thousands of Words

Photos have always had a big impact on me. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with parents who took pictures constantly and always took advantage of the latest technological advances in camera equipment. Today, photographs are extremely common. We’ve got cell phones that take relatively good pictures, and digital cameras we can take along with us and take as many shots of events as we would like. We can then print them off or simply post them to social media if we want.

I had to do a project a while back that required photographs. It was a project focusing on history, and they couldn’t be current photographs. I decided to dive on in to one of the many ephemera photograph databases IU subscribes to. I didn’t know we had access to these until this project, but knowing they exist now, I go back to them whenever I have the chance. In addition to photographs, I also enjoy history of all kinds, so looking at these old photographs combined two things I have an interest in. I always have fun examining old photographs in an attempt to better understand what life was like during that time period. Words can take you so far, but photos allow you to really see things exactly as people during that time did, without your brain filtering in and making it’s own choices on what objects would have looked like.

One of the collections I used for my project was the AP Images archives. Many of these images are iconic and easily recognizable. You can search for whatever you want, but what truly makes this collection interesting is they break down the photos into categories, if you’d just like to browse. They even have a “today in history” category.

The Charles Cushman Collection also fascinates me. Cushman spent many years traveling to different areas and taking photographs. He ended up donating his collection to IU, where it was digitized. If you’d like to see the everyday lives of many types of people, then this collection is right up your alley.

Today, we take photos for granted in many ways. I know I enjoy just taking a quick photo of something instead of trying to describe it to a friend or family member; it’s simply faster. That doesn’t make photos less valuable, though, and we need to remember to step back and see more in the image than just the mundane object it may be capturing.

-Malissa Renno

To Badger or Not to Badger

“I knew I should just turn this question over to a reference librarian. You guys are like badgers.” I received this compliment (?) from a patron when I finally tracked down the article he was looking for after about 30 minutes of searching. At first, I wasn’t sure how to take this, but after thinking for a few minutes, I decided I loved it.

Badgers may not look like much to the casual observer, but when cornered, they can be fierce fighters.

When comparing librarians and badgers, I prefer Roald Dahl’s Badger in Fantastic Mr. Fox over Kenneth Grahame’s Mr. Badger in The Wind in the Willows. While Graham’s badger is a gruff hermit who very reluctantly agrees to help Toad, Dahl’s Badger captures the “good-in-a-pinch” nature of everyone’s favorite Mustelidae. Badger is friendly, loyal, tenacious, and a little bit goofy, character traits befitting a reference librarian.

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Being a reference assistant means each shift can bring an onslaught of mind-numbing questions about the location of restrooms and drinking fountains, or my personal favorite: “Do you have books here?” While those questions can sometimes take a toll, it is the in-depth research questions that allow me to take pride in my work. Instead of simply handing off these difficult questions to a subject librarian, I do my best badger impression and fight until I simply cannot find the answer. (Unless the question is about science because…you know…it’s science.)

After spending hours at the reference desk, it can be easy to slip into grumpy librarian mode. While it may seem more interesting to figure out what Disney princess you are than to point a student in the direction of the Digitization Lab, we have to remain open to helping. At the beginning of each semester, new students are learning about using the library. Our hope is that, by helping them with mundane questions early in the semester, we will see them returning in November or April when research papers are due and our expertise is needed.

Over the past three years, I have worked as a reference assistant at two different academic libraries. Despite hundreds of questions that could have been answered by a sign, I have not lost my joy for working with patrons, especially students. Attacking each question eagerly, and working hard to provide the best answer possible, should be the goal of every reference librarian. While this is not easy, neither is defending your neighborhood from three mean farmers. Just ask Badger.

-Ryan Frick

Survival Guide in Using the Library (When All You Want to Do Is Be Outside)

As of this week, spring has finally graced us Bloomingtonites with her presence. Warm air, cool rain, trees budding, the daffodils blooming, all reminds us that color and life is returning to Indiana.

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When this weather hits, everyone wants to be outside as much as possible to soak up the long forgotten sun and to watch everything become green. Unfortunately, students, faculty, and staff can’t be outside all day looking at nature and laying out due to the four weeks left in the semester. That leisurely time can come when school is over, when the books are closed, and you are in the car with the windows rolled down and the radio is blasting.

In the spring, the more beautiful it gets outside, the more time we will need to spend inside studying for finals, finishing projects, writing papers, and practicing presentations.

IT. IS. THE. WORST.

But do not despair! The Wells Library has a variety of very awesome and very unique study spaces that students utilize on a daily basis. Here is a list of a few favorites:

Mild talking areas:
The fourth floor of the West tower is a place where study groups and those who are doing group projects gather to openly collaborte, without having a noise limit. This floor also offers the option of groups printing posters and has the library’s only Apple iMacs. This floor is not ideal for getting quiet, intensive studying done as it can get fairly noisy.

Collaboration Rooms – The West Tower collaboration rooms in the Learning Commons are used at almost all hours of the day by groups of all sizes. This space offers the ability to plan projects out on white boards, create content on the computer and monitor in the room, and everyone can contribute their ideas in a roundtable type manner.

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Study with a great view – If you are in the library, why not be as close to nature as possible? On the far east side of the Learning Commons (West Tower), there is a great study space with the view of the intermural practice green and the arboretum.

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Quiet Study Areas
The Scholars’ Commons offers great quiet study spaces with a wide array of seating. If you are reading, you can sit and curl up with your book in a high back armchair or you can sit in plush armchairs that are adjacent to a desk to get work done in a comfortable manner.

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The second floor of the west tower, a quiet floor, also offers views, but mostly of the upper side of the buildings on 10th street. This area is especially beautiful in the early morning during sunrise and in the evening during the sunset. Seeing the vivid colors against the limestone is something to witness – especially from the second floor.

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Personal study – If you like to study alone in a very quiet place, the third floor of the West Tower is monitored on a regular basis to upkeep the rules. The best quality of silence is on towards the back of floors 8-10 of the East Tower. These offer a personal space for your books and help to keep you concentrated. Also, the fact that you are amongst millions and millions of words won’t be of determent.

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If you ever feel lost or don’t know of a good place to study, the librarians at the Reference Desks in both the East and West Towers will help you.

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We hope you enjoy spring at the Wells Library!

-Vaughan Hennen