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Library to provide Stress-Free Zone during finals

04/29/15

The Freel Library may very well be the most popular place on campus next week as students take advantage of a new program to help them relax while they prepare to take their final exams.

C:\fakepath\Stress Free Zone crop.jpgAccording to Freel Library Director Maureen Horak, two library staffers are behind some changes aimed to help students do their best as they close out their spring semester studies. Young-In Kim, an access services associate, and Janet Lexow, a part-time reference librarian, will offer the Stress-Free Zone.

In addition to the library being open until 2 a.m. through the end of final exams, the Stress-Free Zone – located in the study lounge on the main floor – will be available to students from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 6.

“We wanted to put a little bit of fun into what traditionally is not seen as a fun environment,” Kim said. “We thought we could provide a place where students can step away from their studies for a couple of hours and do something different.”

During the two Stress-Zone events, the library will offer snacks donated by a range of campus departments, and provide some activities proven to alleviate stress. In addition to Sudoku and a puzzle for everyone to work on together, adult coloring will be offered.

According to The New York Times, coloring has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity among adults, as an increasing number of people discover the calming affect that using crayons and colored pencils to fill in various scenes provides.

“We’ve selected adult coloring books with things like flowers and movie scenes,” Lexow said. “And, we thought it would be neat if, when the puzzle is completed, we could lacquer it and frame it to hang in the library.”

“When you read the literature about what’s going on in the library world, we’ve read about what other institutions are doing. We thought we would give this a go and see how the students respond,” Kim said.

Kim and Lexow say the library is an ideal place for students to study.

In addition to being free of everyday distractions and providing camaraderie as they prepare for final exams together, “Students learn better when they can collaborate with each other and talk openly about the projects they’re working on. You will see that on the main floor constantly. Most of our tables are full, with students working in groups,” Lexow observed.

Quiet areas also are available to students, on the library’s top floor.

“We want the students to be comfortable here and to be themselves so they can get their work done,” Lexow said.

“Everyone will do better on their finals if they’re feeling a little less stressed,” Horak added. “The Stress-Free Zone is a great opportunity to take advantage of the library as a gathering place, to be together, and help each other out. If people like it, we can expand it.”