Magazine article American Libraries

Long Nights Build Library Use

Magazine article American Libraries

Long Nights Build Library Use

Article excerpt

The idea of an all-nighter might not hold much appeal past a certain age. Many librarians, however, are using all-nighters to build an enthusiastic audience of student users through the Long Night Against Procrastination.

One student at Crozet Library, a branch of Jefferson-Madison (Va.) Regional Library, left a remarkable thank-you note with Young Adult Librarian Allie Haddix about the library's Exam Cram event for high school students: "Because of the services that you have provided, I will study hard and efficiently, get good grades, get into the best college, and change the world."

The European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany, created the Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) in 2010. Since then, it has spread among university writing centers and, in many cases, libraries worldwide. Others, including school and public libraries, have started holding events that, while not formally connected to LNAP, have similar goals.

The specifics of these events vary, but the core idea is the same: Students gather in the library to study or work on projects late into the night, while library and writing center staffers offer assistance in research, writing, and proofreading, and sometimes professors volunteer their time to provide assignment-specific aid. Many programs add snacks, relaxation events, planned study breaks, giveaways, and other nonacademic activities into the mix.

But even at LNAP and similar events that have those extras, productivity--in a supportive, community atmosphere--is central. At Crozet's Exam Cram, the library stayed open late exclusively for high school students over seven days. "There was one group using dry-erase markers to write equations on the glass walls, and they had filled the whole wall with equations," says Haddix.

"It looked like they were in college."

LNAPs get enthusiastic response from students. Perhaps most dramatically, the Long Night at Waldorf College's Hanson Library (held in partnership with the Waldorf Writing Center) in Forest City, Iowa, attracts 20% of the student body. Since it began in 2013, "every time one of our student ambassadors gave a tour in the library, they'd mention the Long Night as a hallmark event," says former director (and now head of Hardin Library Services at the University of Iowa) Elizabeth Kiscaden. …

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