Bookstores becoming study hot spot

CW Staff

“Shhh!”

That phrase is the most common one associated with libraries across the country, and some students just can’t seem to keep quiet.

Silence can be as loud as The Million Dollar Band blaring in the near background or as distracting as pencil persistently tapping on a desk.

A 2009 poll by Sacred Heart University found that half of its students don’t use the study rooms in the library. So where are students choosing to get their studying done? Bookstores and cafés, according to the study results.

A local store manager from bookselling power Barnes & Noble said he sees about 1,000 customers throughout the week purchasing things in the store. One-third of those customers are students, he estimated, and of that one-third, 95 percent of them come solely for a seat in the lounge area.

Literature graduate students Munica Fiazea and Katie Riley say they study in the bookstore because it is the best of both worlds.

“I like coffee and I like to look around when I’m bored,” Fiazea said.

In a bookstore, Fiazea said she thinks that she has just enough freedom and self-control to keep focused on her schoolwork.

“It works better for me. Libraries are too quiet for me. My brain shuts down and I get sleepy,” Fiazea said.

“Here, I get to see and interact with people. At home, I could do laundry or fall asleep on the couch. In here, there’s the right amount of life.”

Riley said she thinks of the lounge environment in another way.

“There’s the right amount of distraction,” Riley said.

For English instructor Ashley Gorham, meeting outside of the traditional setting of a classroom was the alternative her students needed to connect with her on a more relaxed level. As she conducted class in the lounge of the Starbucks on the second floor of the Ferguson Center, her students got a chance to peer edit their final drafts as well as ask about their status in the class.

“It allows them to be social and less afraid to approach me about their grades,” Gorham said. “It gets them out of the classroom and it changes the dynamic.”

As a creative writing master’s student, Gorham said she knows that being in one environment too long can pump the breaks on the thinking process and a change of scenery might just be the key to rev their cognitive engines and keep them on task more often.

“I don’t think I’m strict, but they were caught off guard when I told them it was a voluntary class to come to,” Gorham said. “It gives them a chance to speak candidly with me.”

Gorham said that although change is a good thing, she still is sticking to the classroom as her primary place to teach.

“I wouldn’t necessarily hold lectures here all the time, but I do think there are certain assignments that are conducive to that kind of environment,” Gorham said. “There’s good timing for it. Maybe once or twice next semester.”