Glowsticks, Stormtroopers, and Stress Reduction

Last semester, the Sunday before finals week students organized a semi-impromptu rave. A video of it was recently featured by the Chronicle of Higher Education. I figured I would give a little of the back story on it.

A student from SGA approached our manager of circulation and our director with an idea for a flash mob rave. After some thought and further organization (and realizing it’s a fair amount of work to set up and tear down speakers) it became just a somewhat abbreviated rave. There was some wariness on our part because of concerns about students studying and having to ask one of our circulation managers to stay late, but ultimately we agreed.

The word was spread by mouth and a Facebook event page. At 11:30pm the DJs (curiously named Laserdisk Party Sex) set up their gear and started doing their thing. The event was filmed and edited by one of our digital film-making students. As you can see in the video, there were a lot of people dancing and enjoying themselves. After several encores, it wrapped at around 12:30am.

Overall it seemed like a fun way to de-stress before finals. There were no formal complaints that I know of (though I heard mild complaining on Twitter). I think it helped that they decided to do it close to closing time. The thing I think that is really cool about it is that it was completely student organized and they chose the library for their venue. I like to see students making the library their own and taking it over for something like this.

As a side note I’m liking the stormtrooper shtick by Laserdisk Party Sex as well as their track Lemonade is Still Popular:
Lemonade is Still Popular by LAZERDISK PARTY SEX


Libraries = Learning and Fun

Two doors, one labeled business, one labeled pleasure

Photo from v.h.d. on Flickr

Libraries come down to two key concepts: learning and fun (in the context of information). We’ve known this for years. An example is our collection of both scholarly works  and more leisurely reading.

These two concepts are the reason why we collect content in varied forms. They are the reasons we host events for our users. They are the reason we provide access to the web. They’re the reason why there are librarians working at the library. Libraries are all about learning and fun.

We have books and ebooks so people can gain new ideas or enjoy a tale of adventure or suspense. We have videos and games so users can be entertained or educated. Events hosted by the library allow people to have fun as a community or arouse their curiosity together. People go to the library so they can interact with other folks who are learning and having fun, or they’re going to find a quiet place to learn or have fun by themselves. Use of the internet allows users to access a vast array of resources that can contribute to both fun and learning.

Moreover, fun and learning must not be too out of balance. If we became places that only had first person shooter games and romance novels, we’d quickly become obsolete. Humans need intellectual fulfillment.  Conversely if we only have scholarly tomes and documentaries, users will quickly become bored.

Libraries improve people’s lives through free access to information that contributes to their fun and learning. Keeping these two concepts in mind when delivering or improving services is key. “Did I help this patron learn or have fun?” “How does this new initiative contribute to patron fun or learning?”