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Where to go when you need to crack a book

A proper study space can be one of a student’s most useful tools for achieving academic success. Although studying can seem to be a hassle when coupled with the demands of everyday life, quiet and productive study spaces are available on campus. For commuter students, sometimes it is not worth driving all the way home for an hour break between classes. Other students who live in the area may prefer to study on campus due to the atmosphere. As a result, many types of students can find themselves with time they can spend catching up on reading, beginning a paper, research, or any number of other academic necessities on campus.

The library is one of the most prominent study spaces on campus, and it caters to many different student needs. Karen Diller, Associate Library Director of the WSU Vancouver library and a Ph.D. student in library and information science, conducts continuous research to improve the usability of library study spaces. Diller said “The way students and faculty use academic libraries is changing.  Libraries no longer need as much space for storage of physical items since we are collecting many items electronically.  However, students in particular still use and want to use the Library for their study.”

Diller’s research reveals that “greener” spaces, particularly the windows in the library overlooking the outdoor scenery, promote learning and “can help one recover from mental fatigue and reduce stress.” Working with Reference Librarian Sue Phelps, Diller said that after observing students, it was discovered that armchair attachments impede student learning because of the amount of “stuff” students carry with them. As a result, future design plans will not include these attachments. Diller also elaborates that plans are in motion for the library “that would provide a better sound barrier between quiet and noisy areas so that students have real choices between which areas to study based on their needs at the time.”

Currently, the library has computer stations with internet access and printer accessibility is available to students who need to work. For those who do not require a desktop computer, or who have brought a laptop, tablet or other electronic device with them, there are individual workstations as well as tables large and small. The small and large tables as well as the individual workstations are secluded, well-lit and have power outlets available. Free Wi-Fi is available to students, allowing for internet connections on accessible devices.

In the back of the library, there are also couches for leisurely study or personal reading. The library observes a “Quiet Policy” allowing for concentration on academics. Reference librarians are available to answer questions and assist with research. Those who prefer to study at home can still conduct research and ask librarians questions through the library’s website, library.vancouver.wsu.edu/. The Writing Center is located upstairs in the Library Room 203 to assist students with writing papers. The Writing Center is also open on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., allowing for papers written over the weekend to be revised before an early week due date.

For those who prefer a livelier environment, studying in the Firstenburg Student Commons is a great way to couple academics with on-campus connections. VFSC provides a café-like atmosphere, with ping pong tables, a gaming room and food. The Office of Student Involvement is also in the building, keeping students in the know about upcoming events.

For the independent studier who is waiting for their next class, the Multimedia Classroom Building is one of many buildings that have areas dedicated to quiet study with individual workstations, tables, sofas and chairs, as well as power outlets available for students.

These are just a few examples of popular study spots on campus. When the weather is preferable, study spots expand tremendously for students to include outdoor benches, tables and even the lawn. School faculty work extensively to provide productive study spaces for students, so that each student has a multitude of options to find their study niche, whether it be on campus or at home with internet connections to school resources.

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