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Students develop obscure study habits in library when stressed

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Study tools help students cram during finals week at the libraries.


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DECEMBER 04, 2011

Sleeping bags, pizza and a chicken seem more fitting for an Occupy encampment than a library, but in the days leading up to finals, even those become commonplace at UC Berkeley’s campus libraries.

The Gardner Main Stacks and Moffitt Library will be open 24 hours a day starting today and until Sunday, Dec. 11, as they fill up with students who find creative ways to remain studying there.

In past years, committed students have brought suitcases filled with clothing and a desktop computer, and one even sneaked in a live bird, according to Alina Christian, night shift manager at Doe Library.

“We went downstairs (in Main Stacks,) and there was a chicken running around,” Christian said.

After that discovery last spring, Doe Library staff had to catch the bird and clean up its droppings.

Library staff are still unsure why the bird was in the building but assume it was a prank.

In order to spend longer hours at the library, some students bring in large meals. Whole pizzas have been spotted, and in the past year, a student even brought a rice cooker, according to Christian.

“He had rice, so I’m assuming it worked,” said Morgan Hulsey, a student library employee at Doe.

According to Christian, students often sleep on the library’s floor, rest on book racks or curl into individual cubicles to nap.

Additionally, breaks during the dead week can range from talking to friends to even sexual intercourse.

Condoms have been found in the library study halls, proof of intimate relations between the books, according to Hulsey.

Small confrontations also occur among students who spend long hours in the library, according to Sonya Williams, a employee in the security department for the campus libraries.

“People argue about space, saying ‘you took my space’ or ‘I was here first,’” Williams said.

Experienced Doe staff are largely cavalier about most of the happenings during dead week, but some events, such as the naked run, still have the power to surprise them.

“Afterwards, there was sequins and glitter everywhere,” Christian said regarding last year’s run.
Just across Memorial Glade, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library remains peaceful, according to Bruce Williams, the library’s reference services coordinator.

“Even the homeless people who come here are really well behaved,” Williams said. “It’s just a different group of people.”

Regardless of where they study, students will continue to invent ways to occupy the library in order to get their studying done.

Yufan Dong, a freshman, has already started studying for her finals but only plans to bring study materials with her into the library.

“Finals have got me stressed — I’m actually planning to go to the library every day next week and stay until I’m too tired to function,” she said.


Contact Franklin Krbechek at 


DECEMBER 05, 2011