Troy H. Middleton Library

Troy H. Middleton Library  on June 17, 2020 on LSU's campus.

In a time filled with emotion and uncertainty, struggling with the stress of work, school and a pandemic can be overwhelming to say the least.

However, LSU offers the opportunity to take one of those stressing factors away and provide a solitude for students to pursue their academic dreams and excel at them. Or at least the University did, before the pandemic struck Louisiana. 

Many remember the days of 24-hour services and the opportunity to spend an entire night on the first floor of the library. Those days now seem long gone as the university has cut many building hours before the start of the fall semester.

Currently, the first floor of LSU Library is open at various times throughout the week, but the earliest to the latest times are from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other resources associated with LSU Library, including specific floors in the libraries, open and close in the span of a few hours during the afternoon. LSU Hill Memorial Library is only open to appointments and closes those available times at 1 p.m.

Biological engineering sophomore Andre Mira explained that because of the modified hours, he now can only study at either Patrick F. Taylor Hall or a friend's apartment.

"The library was the perfect studying atmosphere for me, but because they close at 8pm, I do not get a lot of time to study there," he said, discussing his reliance on the LSU Library whiteboards.

Mira, who works at the Shell Tutorial Center and the SI Office, begins a normal day at 9:30 a.m. and doesn't start studying until the end of the day at 4:30 p.m., leaving three and a half hours to utilize the library each day. However, the concern comes when he finishes eating dinner and returns to study until one or two in the morning, according to Mira.

"The reduced hours are part of the reopening plan recommended by LSU Office Environmental Health and Safety and the LSU Emergency Operations Center," said Singrid Kelsey, director of library communications and public relations for the LSU Library.

Kelsey commented that the reduced hours provides ample time for proper cleaning and reduced numbers in the libraries, providing social distancing guidelines to be upheld.

"The library is definitely a staple for many students, especially with finals coming up," said Lauryn Bowman, a pre-dental sophomore.

Bowman starts a normal day at 6:30 a.m. before her first class and doesn't end the day to study until after work around 9 p.m.

"I definitely find that I work best at night," she said.

Although Bowman said she recognizes the reasoning behind the library's modified hours, she reminisces on the nights spent there during finals week preparing for exams.

Currently, there are no plans to return to 24-hour accommodations for students and faculty.

"That decision will likely be made when EHS and EOC experts determine it is safe for the university to return to more normal operations as a whole," Kelsey said.

LSU Library does offer an "Ask Us" link where students can share their concerns along with other resources to retrieve books and documents.

Until LSU student's academic pursuits are respected and accommodated for, many will have to look for other hidden study locations and hope COVID-19 doesn't take anything more than it already has.

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