Studying in the upper floors of Warner library the other day, I found myself being kicked out by a student worker at what I thought to be an outrageously early time. “Four in the afternoon!? On a Friday!?” I thought to myself. This is a university! How could such a thing be? So, disgruntled I gathered my things and moved to a new study spot, the computers outside the dining commons. While studying in displacement, I struck up a conversation with a peer about my experience. We mused together about how several facilities on campus have highly restricted hours. For a minute I was concerned. If Eastern wants to be an academically rigorous institution, why would it not encourage the use of its facilities more frequently, especially on the weekends? Without enough thought, I was content to place the blame on the university for not cultivating a more academic culture.
That was my gut feeling, but I would do well to gather some more information before making a judgment, as we all should do. Too often we rely too much on intuition and too little on proof. What feels right is not always so. In this particular instance, I was surprised to find that in past years the library has had more extensive hours, but it was a lack of interest and use that lead to the times being cut back. My lack of knowledge in the actual hours of the library is testament to this, as I do not often use it. Instead I spend most of my time working from the comfort of my dorm.
What was a slightly comical frustration sparked a deeper thought related to my predicament. What we don’t invest our time in will be lost. With no demand, Warner does well to close early. There is no reason to stay open when no one is coming around anymore. All the resources are online, and it is much easier to do research with multiple tabs open than to flip through a stack of books. Maybe that is not such a bad thing, but something tells me there are plenty of people who would like to keep libraries open even in the age of information. What we show interest in, and where we devote our energy shapes what this school can do for us. I think we assume a lot about the culture at Eastern is static, when maybe it doesn’t have to be.