Photo Credit: Breadchastik under a Creative Commons Attribution license 3.0
Meeting Spaces Author: Divya Khanna
University libraries serve an extended role compared to what they play in communities. These are the primary meeting spaces, where people from all walks of university life come together to exchange ideas, encourage dialogue, and above all – socialize.
This was essentially the role of the Silverman Library – ‘Capen Library’ in the State University of New York University at Buffalo. It was a common ground for students to meet and plan their alcohol-infused weekends; predict test questions over a chain-smoking session; and above all, scout for new talent that is going to be a hit in downtown Buffalo.
Ah, yes, it was only after this the true purpose of the library was met. Once the sun had set and the clock struck midnight, the social circles dispersed and all students sat down at their desks and began cranking out the tunes to assist them in memorizing as much text as they possibly could, wishing they had paid just a tad more attention in class.
Meals were often obtained from vending machines. You could choose from a line-up of stale chips and chocolates, or dubious microwavable meals that could be heated up in a nearby room. There was, of course, abundant access to caffeine – coffee, green tea, Red Bull, Monster, Burn, and Amp – you name it, they had it – everything you needed to guarantee the insomnia that followed the exam cram. But come morning, once the sun rose and the first round of exams were completed, everyone gathered at Capen Library once again. This time, the conversations were complemented by coffee and cigarettes. You also had the occasional slacker who tries to grill you for questions in the hope that their exam would have the same set (note: it never hurts to mess with them).