Alyssa Roat | Echo
What is a library for?
Your first response probably wouldn't be camping.
Or basketball games. Or pillow fights.
Yet, as a research assistant at Zondervan Library, I have witnessed all three take place.
Taylor's campus is full of life. The dorms are filled with wing mates laughing, yelling and running down the halls. Dorm rooms are home to noisy roommates. Even at LaRita Boren Campus Center, an empty seat can be hard to find. You might think you could find a peaceful place to do homework outside, but this is Indiana. If it isn't raining, snowing, gusting, sweltering or freezing, you can bet it will be within a few minutes.
Because of this, many students flee to the library for study and solitude. However, recently, this place of rest hasn't been very restful.
On Tuesday evening, Oct. 2, three consecutive groups of young men disturbed the peace of the library.
The first staged a basketball game, yelling and hooting while dribbling a ball, leaping and shoving.
The second arrived 15 minutes later, toting large tree branches, a sleeping bag, camping chairs and other camping supplies. They proceeded to grunt at one another while slamming down supplies and branches on the library's new wood flooring. They then grunted at library staff who asked them to leave until one of their number convinced them to comply.
Finally, another group arrived in pajamas carrying pillows, was asked to leave, and then began shouting and pillow fighting in the atrium.
The next evening, Oct. 3, a much larger horde of young men invaded the library wearing all black. They ran through the library disturbing patrons, whispering, "Are you okay? Are you good?" Snapchat video footage from those present showed these young men running behind the checkout desk and even riding bikes into the library. Some patrons reported the young men bursting into study rooms.
Senior Hailey Smith is a Zondervan Library student employee and was present during the events of Oct. 2. She expressed her displeasure with the immaturity shown.
"I don't get why people take the rule of something and do the exact opposite of it," Smith said. "It impacts other people."
Though these incidents are extreme examples, disruptions in the library are not uncommon. As a research assistant, I have on several occasions been forced to ask students to settle down at the request of other patrons. Students have many times reported disturbances even on the second floor, which is prominently marked as a quiet study floor.
Jan King, the Circulation and Serials Coordinator at Zondervan Library, acknowledged the main floor is intended to be louder than the second floor.
"We love seeing collaboration on the first floor and expect a little noise from that," King said. "However, we hope that students working in groups understand that there is individual studying going on around them and keep the noise at a level conducive to studying."
At risk of sounding like the stereotypical "shushing librarian," I would like to remind students and patrons that people come to the library to study. You can run around, yell and engage in strange activities anywhere else on campus. But please, let's leave one sacred space where students can retreat to study for that midterm or complete a massive paper without worrying about interruptions.
Academics are stressful enough. Instead of sabotaging each other, let's create a space of learning amidst the works of all the scholars who came before us.