It’s officially mid-term week and the pressure is on. Papers are due, exams are scheduled and we seem to have more projects and presentations than we know what to do with. It’s safe to say that the only place to get all this work done is the library, because, well, that’s what Rohrbach Library was built for, right? At least that’s the concept.

A library is supposed to be calm and quiet, sometimes containing hushed whispers and muffled giggles. You’re supposed to get the most work done there, instead of your dorm, where there’s always a distraction between your roommates and neighbors, or a café on campus, where you find yourself ordering more coffee and doughnuts than turning the pages in your textbook.

But recently, I have found that the library is slowly becoming the new hangout spot, where studying is the last thing on people’s minds. This only seems to occur earlier on in the week.

For example, this past Monday I joined my regular study group in our usual spot – upstairs, at a table against the big windows – around 6:30 p.m. I had to write a last-minute draft of a creative non-fiction piece and my boyfriend was working on a three-minute presentation for the following day. Needless to say, we needed our quiet to concentrate, and we thought we could get it at the library. I knew within half-an-hour, though, the quiet would not come.

For two-and-a-half hours, I was distracted by a group of six fraternity brothers a few tables away that would not stop laughing, talking and high-fiving. They had laptops and books in front of them, so I had assumed they were there to study, but an hour later when they still hadn’t calmed down, I knew this was more of a social gathering.

I understand that it can get a bit distracting when you study with friends, but have some respect; you’re in a library, surrounded by tables of other students who are glaring at you beneath their books. You should realize it’s time to quiet down and get to work or just leave the building already.

Another pet peeve I have with people in the library is the token cell-phone answerer. No matter how quiet you might think you are, one cannot answer their phone in the library without causing some kind of ruckus. Some – like a frat brother on Monday night – don’t seem to understand, or care, that other people are trying to do their math problems 10 feet away. These people don’t have any respect for others, and the rest of the library knows it.

Whenever I’m in the library and my phone goes off on vibrate, I answer it as quietly as possible. I had one friend ask if I had a bad case of laryngitis because of the way I said, “Hello?” I know it’s unpredictable when your phone will ring, but at least have the courtesy to answer it quietly and keep the conversation short. I think the library is one of the only places where I would much rather text than talk on my phone, and that should be a rule for all.

It’s only mid-term week. We have half a semester to go, which only means more tests, papers and assignments. And more time spent in the confines of Rohrbach. It would be so nice to know that, when I go into the library looking for the quiet for a few hours, I am not met with louder distractions than I have in my apartment.

By Mary Pickett


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