Finals week is a busy time for academic librarians: From across campus, students flock to the stacks of books, makerspaces, and computer labs to get in their last-minute studying before finals week.
For some scholars, this might be the first time they’ve stepped into the library — so, for academic libraries across the country, it’s your time to shine by putting your best foot forward, ensuring students have everything they need, and setting everyone up for success during finals week.
But finals week can be just as stressful for librarians as it is for students. In order to make this time a little more pleasant for everyone, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks from other academic libraries to get through finals week with the least amount of stress as possible — and maybe even have a little fun. Check out these six libraries that are setting the standard for finals week preparations.
1. University of Dayton
The University of Dayton encourages students to “lego” of their finals-induced stress through activities like Roesch Library’s Finals Week Block Party. With free chair massages, therapy dogs, bunnies, tea time, pizza, and taxi rides home (on the house!), students are able to ease their anxiety at the library while having fun and staying safe at the same time. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and for students who prefer to burn off the stress, free group fitness and yoga classes are available elsewhere on campus.
2. Humboldt State University
In order to help students de-stress while studying, Humboldt State’s Brain Booth aims to explore the mind-body connection while optimizing learning. Located in the university’s library, the Brain Booth includes a biofeedback station where students can train their body’s response to stress, relaxation and contemplation stations equipped with tools for sound, art, and meditation therapy, gaming and VR stations, and even light therapy lamps for students suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically, any way you want to relax, recover, or unwind — the HSU Library has you covered.
3. Samford University
Samford University Library keeps a round-the-clock watch on social media to respond as quickly as possible to student questions and queries during finals week. This allows them to engage with their campus community virtually, build up their social media following, and let large numbers of students know about important goings-on quickly. How else are students to know when therapy dogs and pizza are available in the library lobby?
4. Pennsylvania State University
During finals week, Penn State University Libraries offers a long list of engaging and relaxing De-Stress Fest activities. In addition to extended campus bus schedules for students out late studying, five libraries across campus offer free food, drinks, games, and art therapy, designed to take students’ minds off their impending tests. This is part of a campus-wide initiative to support students during finals week, with other campus resources available to students like stress management workshops, therapy dogs, and even a relaxation room to focus on self-care.
5. Boise State University
Boise State Library stays open late to help students cram, plus they also implemented a special mental health program to help students stay healthy during a stressful week. The CARE program provides assistance to the university community to help them stay safe and focused on their studies. Plus, Boise State University's Online Learning Portal offers program learning guides with curriculum and career path requirements that help keep students informed and motivated to finish their studies well.
6. Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University’s ZSR Library puts on a finals week festival called Wake the Library, featuring 24-hour food service for students, faculty, and staff. Last fall’s festival included snacks like burritos and chicken n’ biscuits served in a 'ZieSta' room with luxurious recliners perfect for a quick power snooze, so Wake Forest students had everything they needed to study productively.
No matter what time of year, it’s important to keep students relaxed and happy. Looking for inspiration? Check out our whitepaper on the 9 Innovations Shaping Academic Libraries Today.
What are some innovative ways your library is helping students survive finals this semester? Drop some ideas in the comments below!