The Library: A Church For Students

Graduation day: it’s the most exciting day for any student. It’s a day to thank friends, family, and professors for helping us earn our degree. Among those sincere thank you’s, one is forgotten. There is one well deserved thank you that is almost always left out. As I mention this, you may be rummaging around through your head as to who it might belong to, but you’ll never guess.

It is not a person but a place. The one place that has seen just as many if not more tears and determination than any college sports arena. The Library. It is the library that houses students during finals week. It is here that college students across the world go to find sanctuary in studying. NMSU’s library, Zuhl, has been a favorite study spot for a plethora of students since its construction in 2000. There is peace and quiet, access to important resources, snacks, and if you need a break its convenient location can make for a pleasant walk.

Every student has reasons for choosing their study spot. For most their decision is based on lack of distractions. As kids we hated being hushed but as students we often lust for quiet places to study.  Sadly, public libraries are hardly utilized anymore. However, college libraries are the complete opposite. Walking into Zuhl, a student will see maybe fifty other students. Some are doing group work, some are using the computers, and some are focused solely on their notes. It’s not only motivating to see people working on school all around you but it’s also nice seeing that you aren’t the only student skipping drinks to study.

Our campus libraries become a sort of second home for us. We know where everything is, what floors are best, and even what bathroom is our favorite. Zuhl has three different floors; the funny thing is that the floor in which students prefer to study or do school work is almost reflective of their personality. The first floor is bustling. Students working the front desk are chatting with one another, students are gathered in groups laughing at each other’s notes, there’s a lot of activity on the first floor. A student who doesn’t have a laptop would go here to use the computers. If they are in a hurry they might be found along the wall next to the printers. If the student is scrolling through Facebook they could be found in the roomy cubicles that offer more privacy. A student who doesn’t like feeling alone might pick this floor as their designated study spot.

The second floor is much quieter. Although groups gather here to complete projects they use a much more hushed tone. Most groups on this floor will be found in the study rooms located near the front. These rooms are very popular among students and provide a cozy study annex.

The third floor is the quietest. The large windows provide a warm, natural light. Students come to the third floor to study fiercely and in solidarity. It’s not uncommon to see the same students in the library, in the same spots. It’s also not uncommon to be there every night and only recognize employees.

A student’s study spot has a great role in their success or lack of. It is important that students study in places they are comfortable in but they have to be able to focus. Although preferences vary, comfortability and limited distractions are two of the underlying traits for such preferences. Zuhl’s different floors are so different that they fill all kinds of requirements students seek for a good study space.

“I like Zuhl because of the environment, especially the quiet study zones,” says 21-year-old Yesenia Ibarra. She is a fourth year engineering student with a cumulative GPA of 3.6. She agrees that students who don’t utilize effective study areas are jeopardizing their grades, “For those people who can study at home, more power to you, but I feel like there are too many distractions at home. I also feel that if you wake up early (pack lunch) go to class and decide to go the library or even the gym, instead of home, you are setting yourself up for success."

Several other students also agreed that they could contribute a lot of their school success to long hours at the library. Some students said they like Zuhl and go there simply to relax, read, or mess around on their laptop between classes.

Similar to a church, students find peace in their campus libraries. For anyone that’s not familiar with churches or a religious service, this is how the library might compare. People come to relax and find peace within themselves or work on something. Staff members become friendly, familiar faces such as the ushers and priests in churches. Libraries are quiet but still hold a strong social aspect like a church. Churches are used to get closer to something, people use libraries as a way of getting closer to a degree. Merrit Peterson, a recent NMSU graduate says she still uses Zuhl, often going to read and get away from her roommates when doing important stuff online.

“Zuhl has seen a lot from me, I’ve been there more than I’ve been in any other class or building. It’s seen me at my worst during finals and now my worst doing my own taxes and paying online bills. I don’t think people even realize that I’m not a student,” says Peterson as she chuckles.

So thank you, Zuhl, and every other campus library out there. Thank you for being a safe haven, a place to learn and most of all thank you for always being there. Although the faces may change, the peace a library can bring never will.