It is already May. Very soon, Cornell students will fight through final exam after final exam in an effort to excel in one of the toughest academic programs out there. As a freshman, this will be my second time going through the final exam period. Even though five months have already passed, my first experience of finals, from December 7-19, still remains vivid in my mind. I am hoping that my reflections of that period can help the school administration make some relatively easy improvements to the student experience during final exam week.
As students flee frigid outside temperatures to take online classes and study in on-campus spaces, libraries have adapted, adding new seats and opening up more spaces.
Despite these additions, some students have decided to stay at home or pull up a chair in non-reservation spaces like Klarman Hall to avoid the influx of students and the reservation requirements. According to Bonna Boettcher, interim associate University librarian, libraries are much busier this semester. Campus study spaces have accommodated about 1,500 additional students in Ithaca this semester — the library system adding just under 100 additional socially-distanced seats, for a total of about 950, while opening spaces on the third floor of Mann Library and in other locations. When making plans to study at most of the spaces available on campus, including those in libraries and some buildings like Goldwin Smith Hall, students must reserve a one-hour study block through the Cornell Chatter website. This has irritated some students, eager for longer stretches of time to complete their homework.
I will attempt to write this column without sounding whiny, hostile or patronizing, but I can’t make any guarantees: It has become painfully obvious to me that our generation’s sense of social decorum is sorely lacking, particularly as it pertains to our behavior in the library, and that someone needs to address it.
From the private works of James Joyce to a copyrighted periodical of an aspiring chemist, thousands of unique books and manuscripts from the Cornell Library collection will be digitized and made available to the world through an expanded partnership between the University and Amazon.com.
The program allows anyone to purchase copies of the materials through Amazon’s BookSurge Print-on-Demand service.
Even with the growing development of e-book technology, Anne Kenney, Carl A. Kroch university librarian, believes that the printed word will always be around because people “still hold an abiding love for [printed] books.”