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The Reference Room in 9th Week

One of the things that makes Carleton Carleton is the nine and a half week term. Never have I heard a length of time so strenuously defended or so often blamed for any real or perceived short-fallings in teaching, learning, assignments, experimentation, or exploration.

Be that as it may, I can tell it’s 9th week because I’m sitting here tonight with over 90 students around me. There are over 20 groups of students working around piles of books, our computers, and their laptops, and the air is full of the hum of purposeful conversation. It’s definitely “Crime Scene Investigation Quiet” today. Every one of our 24 computers is in use (supplemented by at least that many laptops), every one of our tables is populated, and from where I’m sitting, I can’t see any open chairs. There are even couple of people sitting on tables. And that’s just the reference room.

I love it when the library is like this. Next week it’ll be just as full, but the noise level will drop significantly, and we’ll move carefully so as not to disturb anyone. The tension will be almost visible as everyone buckles down and studies for finals. This week is a lot happier than next week will be.