Local Libraries offer incentives for studying


Over the past couple of years, the week before finals has changed from being a reclusive week during which the majority of students hole up in their homes, to the one time a year students flock to their local libraries in search of free pizza and, for lack of a better term, study-buddies.
Libraries on the North Shore have had these Teen Pizza Nights in place for about ten years now and the attendance has been steady from the start, garnering between fifty and sixty students a night. However, recently, these numbers have skyrocketed to between seventy and eighty students a night.
The Teen Pizza Nights at the Wilmette Public Library are organized and conducted by Jill McKeown, the new Teen Librarian. Every January and June, McKeown opens the doors of the library to be taken over by stressed-out teenagers.
Studying at the library has gained a lot of popularity among students over the past couple of years.
“The library is a great place to study. You can meet up with your friends and study, use the library computers, and get some free pizza,” said junior, Peter Hayes.
On a purely clerical level, libraries always want to increase the number of teens utilizing their facilities.
The logic behind the Teen Pizza Nights is simple: “We want teens to come in here and study and we want people to come and enjoy the library, and pizza’s a good incentive,” said McKeown.
The increased foot traffic does, however, have some drawbacks. Rules that are ordinarily strictly enforced, for example, eating in the library or keeping your shoes on, are abandoned entirely during the Teen Pizza Nights, in order to create a stress-free environment.
“It’s important for me to let little rules be broken, like eating in the library and taking off shoes,” said McKeown.
“We always order food to the library,” said junior, William Kirby, “We try to keep our area clean, but we always feel a little bad about breaking the rules,”.
Surprisingly, this is a commonly held opinion among librarians, according to McKeown, “Most of the patrons and most of the staff here think its really fun when teens come in and take over the library. They’re all laying in the stacks, shoes are off, recycling bins are turned over into desks”.
However, at a certain point, the breaking of minor rules stops being cute and starts being a nuisance, according to McKeown.
“I’m very pro-environment, and the teens never really recycle as much as I would like them to, and sometimes after the kids have been eating in the stacks of books, we will find food stuck in between the books,”.
Of course, it seems natural that there would be some push-back coming from library staff and regular patrons, something McKeown acknowledges.
“There are some patrons, and staff alike, who find the number of teens coming in overwhelming and they may not be as friendly”
It has become a general consensus among the library staff and New Trier Students that the library is a great place to study. The popularity of going to the library to study has been growing by word of mouth and the number of students going to the library to study has only increased as more people hear about all the tools libraries have to offer.
“The library is a great place for study groups and getting a lot done without distractions, I go as much a possible during finals week,” said junior, Carly Cao.