Column by Zan Strumfeld

Zan Strumfeld
Zan Strumfeld

I’m an English major.

I’m also a senior English major, which means I have a number of 400-level English classes to fulfill. Many students know exactly what I’m talking about, so I’m not going to whine.

But here’s why I’m pissed at the library:

This semester I took three 400-level English classes. I’ll just say it was…rough. As expected, each professor asked for a six to eight page research paper, all due before finals. One paper was due this past Monday, another on Tuesday. My plan was to spend the entire weekend writing both simultaneously. You can tell me to stop ranting right now by asking, “Why didn’t you start the papers earlier?” and I’d respond by saying, “Clearly you’re not a college student…and you’re also not a part of The Oracle.” But I digress.

I had high hopes Friday afternoon until I went to the library website to find out the library was closing at 5 p.m. There’s one more week of classes, no one will shut up about how stressed they are about their work…and the library isn’t open.

O.K., so new plan: stay in Friday, do the work I can, then wake up early Saturday and Sunday mornings and go to the library. Then I find out it won’t be open until 1 p.m.

I just don’t get it. Doesn’t our college pride itself on its academics? How we’re ‘such a difficult school to get into’ and all? Believe me, I know we’ve had budget cuts. But it’s embarrassing. There are many university libraries open for 24 hours, yet we can’t even stay open past 5 p.m. on a Friday.

I’m not sure if my anger is getting across as strongly as I want it to. I spent the last few days trying to calm down after the hell that was this weekend.

How? Let me tell you how it ruined one of my research papers.

For my 20th Century British Literature course, I decided to take a Freudian, psychoanalytic view of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” I was having trouble finding really good sources, so on Sunday, my professor recommended two great articles. I immediately went to the library to find them. I got the call numbers and ran to the basement floor to find the stacks…empty. Breathe. Don’t have a panic attack.

I ran to find a librarian. She tells me both articles are in particular quarterlies that are in storage. Locked up. Cannot be accessed until after renovations. And for the first time, I cried in the library.

I went home, changed my topic at 4 p.m., and wrote the shittiest six-page research paper in seven hours.

I heard  an “Occupy” protest was happening on Friday in the library, and I believe with a silent protest that officials should extend the hours. Finally…an “Occupy” movement that has a cohesive, smart idea that I agree with. Once a petition began going around, we just happened to receive an e-mail saying hours were later this Friday. Great, I guess.

I won’t be mad at the library forever. It’s not Sojourner’s fault. I just never thought I’d get to college and this would be a problem.

Next semester is my last semester. I hope things are fixed by then.