Yes sleeping. Not exactly the verb that one associates with library but as the saying goes – ‘desperate times call for desperate measures.’ I remember hearing horror stories of how students wouldn’t leave library for days during deadlines and exam season (usually from mid April to June). At that time, I never dreamt I would be one of those characters but now that I’ve become one, let me shed some light on the library’s nocturnal habitat. I will start off with some confessions – it’s not comfortable (after all, there can be no competition to bed) and it’s not usually recommended (find out why) but I assure you it’s certainly far from horror.
So one of the amazing things about LSE is that the library is open 24 hours during Lent and Summer terms, exactly when you need it the most. 24 hours may sound a bit too much especially for a city that starts shutting down after 6pm, but for a night owl like me it’s a perfect arrangement. After all, everyone has a different body clock and it’s scientifically proven too – it’s all written in the genes.
So what’s it like at night? Obviously, compared to the hustle and bustle of over-crowded library during the day time, the night time is quieter and more relaxed but it’s far from empty. You won’t be alone as there are plenty of other nocturnal habitants too but the numbers gradually subside after midnight. I like the time between 1-3 am the most – my thoughts are clear and I can truly feel I am in and part of the library. This clichéd feeling of ‘oneness’ doesn’t happen often during the day as there is an unspoken pressure to perform the act of studying (not to forget the vow of silence!) when all you really want to do is stare into the space or explain to a fictional character why your arguments are valid.
Regardless of what you do, as the night matures sleep eventually creeps in and so does the necessity for caffeine. At that point, the automated coffee machine on the first floor is your saviour. That machine has a life of its own with its eccentric mood swings, but on a good night the coffee it gives is pretty amazing and all for a humble price of 80p. There are also times when even with coffee, silence and fear of deadlines, it just doesn’t work and you’ve got to close your eyes. That’s s when you head for the basement and crash out on those comfy beanbags, although the lift – like a giant clock of the library, jerks you back and forth from sleep to somewhere in-between with its rhythmic movement.
And finally the sun arrives and so do the morning larks. With trains on track, for the night owls it’s time to fly back to the nest. It’s also gratifying to know that you are more intelligent than your early morning peers – now that’s quite an achievement at LSE!