Library Tips And Tricks: Part 1

It’s after spring break which means all those essays you’ve been putting off and the exams you thought you had more time to study for are suddenly due. And in about five weeks, preparing for finals will be the main concern on your agenda. Suddenly, the library seems like a good idea. For regular library goers like myself, this is the worst time of the semester when students and their mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts and cousins wander into the giant building in the middle of campus lovingly referred to as “Club Morris” or “The Lib”.  

Since this might be the first time this semester or first time this year you’ve stepped foot through the amusement park turnstiles and metal detectors, I would like to provide an important list of advice. As someone who used to be afraid of the library and once walked in, walked up the stairs and then immediately back down and out the door, I believe I am the leading expert on library etiquette. So do not be afraid to enter. As long as you have this list on hand, you’re golden. I have a lot to say, so look out for my installments of “the list” over the next few weeks!

The library is a quiet workplace and you’ve made the trek all the way to Morris with your backpack stuffed to the brim with chargers, textbooks, paper and most likely lunch-dinner (more on that later). Whether you’ve arrived at 9am, 3pm, or 11pm there are people everywhere.

You generally spend anywhere from five minutes to one and a half hours wandering the library. Once you’ve found your place and collapse exhausted in your seat a little too dramatically, it is now time to breathe. You’re hot because it’s April but April is the new December and Morris has the heat on high. All of your brain power was put towards supporting the weight of your backpack and scanning tables as quickly as possible trying to find a spot and debating whether you should move someone’s stuff they just left on a table fit for four people.

Now your body remembers you need oxygen to live and you’ve either exhaled loudly as you sat down or are trying to stifle your breaths. If you’ve wandered into the “Quiet Reading Room” on the first floor or made your way upstairs to the second or third floor, it seems that everyone else has had some sort of lung replacement surgery that gives them the ability to no longer need to breathe. The pressure is on and you debate announcing you need to leave to take your lunch break even though that would be worse and make no sense at all in this context. Keep yourself together.

Here’s what to do: breathe in one long breath (around 4-8 seconds -- pull out your phone timer if you need to but if you start to sound like you’re an old retired dragon trying to breathe fire, it’s time to stop). After this breath you will let out a soft quick exhale (about 1-3 seconds) followed by a short breath in (1-3 seconds) and repeat this cycle two or three times or until your breathing is back to normal. This trick will alternate loud breathing (the short breaths) with softer breaths (the long breaths). Just remember that while you are doing this, you are also pulling everything out of your bag to set up camp. I’d suggest pulling out all of your items during the long breaths since your breathing will be quiet, but opening your laptop will suddenly sound like you’ve opened Pandora’s box and all of the evil is yelling and escaping.

This dramatic analogy and attempt at humor leads me into my next trick -- please check back next week to find out what it is!