A library is a safe haven for students to research and compose. It is a concentration-inducing zone that gives us access to the world’s knowledge. Not to mention that group psychology is a total perk. Seeing a med student sweat through a 900-page volume makes us reconsider the “tragedy” of writing a 5000-word linguistic paper on second language acquisition. There is only one dreaded moment, one obstacle that keeps students from socializing with library mice as much as they would like: closing hours.
UZH has wonderfully-stocked libraries. They are exemplary for Switzerland and for many other European universities. The study areas are well lit. The shelves are packed with updated research. But the time to clear out our desks comes right when many of us, who have had classes all day, are most productive.
As if to mock us, our libraries like to make every night an early night. The Central Library (ZB) closes at 8pm Monday through Friday and at 5pm on Saturdays. The English Seminar Library (ES) bolts its door as early as 6pm on weekdays and 5pm during semester break, and it is always closed on the weekends. Even the Medical Library and the libraries at Irchel close no later than 8pm. With its toll set at 9pm, the Institute of Law Library is the only exception to the rule.
While students were typing away on their laptops on a Wednesday afternoon, I got up from my bench and gathered some opinions about the students’ study habits at the ES. Ten students out of ten supported the idea of extended library hours, and Frederika Nierstrasz, a student of English literature and linguistics, shared her thoughts.
“The ES library closes at six, which means I have to uproot my work to the ZB, but even that closes at eight,” she said.
English student Cristina Zanetti said she would appreciate a more flexible time schedule and introduced an additional issue.
“I usually don’t have much time to study at the ES library during the week, but I have always wanted to go to it on the weekends.”
Students have more time to research, write, and read during the weekend, and the library is the perfect place to do it. Libraries are home to the mind. Besides, the thought of all those books all by themselves is heartbreaking. We know well that when the students are away the library mice will play.
ZB Library picture taken from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Zentralbibliothek_Zürich.jpg
Library Mice picture taken from http://www.amazon.com/Library-Mouse-Explore-Daniel-Kirk/dp/0810989689/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c/192-0103565-0202803