The Caroll Newman Library at Virginia Tech is both feared and revered as the ultimate study spot on campus. Despite the central location and vast array of resources, students are often intimidated by both its imposing presence and maze-like interior.
Teaching and Learning Librarian Jennifer Nardine wants students to know that there is nothing to fear.
“The libraries are putting more of an effort in balancing all the stress involved with exam week and student wellbeing because if you’re too stressed out you can’t learn,” Nardine said.
During exam week, the library offered grilled cheese the night before exams as a part of their “Cheesy Nights” program. The library also has the Virginia Tech therapy dogs on standby to assist students facing anxiety.
Students still flock to the library in droves during finals, with a desire for productivity in a space that breeds it. The second and fourth floors are often full of group projects, study dates, or those simply looking for a place to be inspired by the efficiency of others. For some students, the library offers both resources to assist them in their studies as well as a reprieve from the bustle of campus life.
“I’m always at the library, and my favorite resource here would be the Writing Center,” said Karissa Kollmar, a Junior majoring in Political Science. “Since I write a lot it is really helpful and it makes me a stronger writer.”
Alternatively, students looking for peace and quiet can find it on the third and fifth floors with individual desk hutches as well as a silent floor rule. According to a study from The University of Alberta, background noise dropped students performance by 7% compared to a control group taking an identical survey. This makes the quiet floors an ideal place to take an out of class exam or study for the important ones.
The library is more than just books and study spaces though. In addition to the Writing Center, which assists students with refining their writing, the library also offers public speaking workshops through their CommLab, fabrication labratories in their MakerSpace and audio recording booths to name a few additional resources.
In her role as the Coordinator for Global Outreach, Nardine also ensures that students studying abroad through the Global Education Office have access to library materials while out of the country.
Librarians also are readily available to assist students according to Nardine. Although towards the end of the semester, the questions asked of them become simultaneously shorter and more complex, the staff is eager to assist students with the caveat that they will not do their assignments for them.
For those with a passion for service learning who are looking to get involved, the library also offers students with work opportunities. Options may vary, but the most popular are the information desk associate position and the webmaster, who assists students with printing.
“I’m able to help them use the library and utilize the books that we have, and all the DVDs and stuff like that,” Student Librarian Morgan Shervington said.
As far as the stacks, however, the library still maintains the dwindling collection of physical copies for those who prefer or require the texture of paper and a non-illuminated display. The library also recently surpassed one million e-books in its digital collection.
“There’s still this image, as far as I can tell, that the library is the warehouse for books and we’re so much more than that at this point,” Nardine said.