We tried the new library experience under Covid restrictions so you don’t have to
At least the lifts are super empty now
Of course, it’s undeniable that the library has undergone a drastic change due to Covid restrictions. The days of waltzing in at 12am to start an essay due at 12pm with a bunch of snacks and drinks are over. No more friendly visits to your friends on different floors and no more big group sessions.
The new restrictions state everyone must social distance (they made this easy for us by removing like half of the chairs), there are shorter opening hours – it went from 24 hours to 8:30am until 12am (this might not sound bad to you but some of us like to do assignments the night before) and you obviously have to be wearing a mask at all times. But it could be worse…
Let’s start with social distancing. If you like sitting on the bottom floors where you can talk as much as you like, maybe social distancing won’t be too much of a concern – you can literally just shout over to your friends and it’s fine. BUT if you like a quieter study space, the upper floors might prove more difficult if you need to tell your friends some gossip you just found out (or how tired you are or how you just can’t be bothered anymore).
Now after speaking to people, the opening hours don’t seem so bad, but if you’re a night owl then this is the worst. Needless to say, don’t wait until close to the deadline to start assignments, but we know some of you need that time pressure to motivate you. 12am just doesn’t do it. Either way, a massive thanks to the library staff for making it possible to reopen (even during lockdown)!
Of course, no one particularly likes wearing masks – maskne anyone? They’re just hot and stuffy and if you’re a makeup wearer… Well we’re sorry – the struggles of getting lip gloss stuck to your mask and those weird lines on your foundation are real! Masks are sadly necessary despite how inconvenient they are and they’re here to stay. Guess it’s time for half face makeup.
The one upside of masks in the library is that you can lip-sync to your favourite songs without anyone seeing your mouth. You can even talk to yourself about how bad your assignments are going and no one will know. Nobody wants to be talking to themselves to look up and make eye contact with someone passing – it’s so awkward.
Last year, eating and drinking wasn’t an issue as long as it wasn’t hot or strong smelling. For some reason though, slowly shifting your mask to sneak a bite of a cookie seems like a criminal act. Even for drinking water it becomes an event! Although we can still eat and drink in the library, it’s definitely not the same.
When entering the library at the bottom, there is a temperature detecting station by the café. If you want a cheeky snap of your body temperature then it’s great. As for accuracy… Not too sure.
One of the main issues though, and I hope we agree on this, is that inside the library, the coffee shop is a Starbucks. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but a lot of you have definitely signed up to the free trial at Pret. I don’t know about you but in the middle of a good study session, the thought of having to walk from the library, all the way to Pret, to wait in the long queue, and then walk back, seems impossible. Imagine having one right in the library – perfect.
If we were going to give a rating of the new library experience, maybe a 7 out of 10 is fair. The changes have only really caused some minor inconveniences, and if you actually go to study then these shouldn’t make too much of a difference – maybe distancing from friends can help.
It’s just sad that first years won’t experience going down to the vending machines at 3am for sustenance whilst writing an essay for 12pm with a 9am lecture in-person that same morning. Actually, come to think of it, maybe that isn’t so sad?