We’ve all been to a library, they play a vital role in our academic lives, whether we nip inside to collect a book or spend all-night frantically trying to finish an assignment due the next day. Whilst we may associate them with the dorky stereotype, this is no longer the case and I can now safely conclude: libraries are sexy. Libraries are increasingly adapting to our busy lifestyles and now serve as meeting spaces, cafes, music venues, sleeping retreats, gaming rooms, massage parlours and forests. Here are some of the coolest library tricks on offer:
I may be biased because I spent a lot of my Erasmus exchange in this library, but Aarhus University Library in Denmark is AN AESTHETIC. It has a “Haven” floor which is home to a water feature, flowers, plants and trees, all encased by the funkiest undulating seating. Just to make it that little bit jazzier, they’ve also added a grand piano into the mix, so smooth, so swanky. In the basement, there are free massage chairs, gaming pods, table tennis and football table areas. They even do a brunch buffet at the weekend! All that is missing is the kitchen sink … good job there is also a public kitchen! A trip there is pretty much an all-day, fun-packed, family excursion.
Taking breaks whilst working is of course, very important, and there are libraries out there which are practically begging us to quit our studies and take some time out. The University of East Anglia has introduced a “Nap Nook” where students can book in a 40-minute battery recharging nap to see them through the day.
Maynooth University in Ireland also has some futuristic sleeping pods which feature a private visor and built-in speaker system, allowing you to block out surrounding distractions. An afternoon nap may actually be the key to your success, for notable persons including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush are all said to have valued this quick but powerful slumber.
Speaking of distractions, loud phone calls can be problematic in the silence of the library. Hoover Public Library in Alabama has a “Cone of Silence” where you can go to take a phone call without anyone around you knowing the details of your conversation. Or if necessary, you can just go in there to scream.
Exam season is also peak library season, as well as peak stress time for students. Thompson Rivers University Library in Canada aims to tackle exam term stress via its “Stress-Free Zone”. The zone contains puzzles, games and colouring sheets, as well as pieces of stress-relieving bubble wrap. Although this may seem a bit over the top, a study conducted by Kathleen Dillon has proven that popping bubble wrap relieves muscle tension, making you less tired and more relaxed.
York University Library accommodates those of us who feel the cold by keeping a supply of borrowable blankets, so you can enjoy a soft office without the guilt of working from your own bed.
I can safely say that libraries now act as lifestyle hubs, and I am all for making our lives less stressful. All I wonder now is would I actually ever get anything done in these nifty book havens or simply spend all my time drinking coffee and napping …