As finals week falls upon Morgan State University, students study into the late hours in preparation for their exams. The Earl S. Richardson Library has become known as a safe haven for Morganites to socialize while also being collegiate.
“Some of my peers use parties to escape the stress of reality; but me, I just get lost in my studies inside the library,” says Imani Wilkerson. “I come into the library with loads of work to do and always leave with a clean slate.”
Wilkerson is a third-year, transfer student from Temple University who visits the library at least two hours every day.
“It’s nothing like finishing your last class and coming to the library to socialize and kick back with your pals,” says Delonte Ragland, a junior majoring in Business Management.
Ragland says that his friends met in the library more often in the beginning of the semester because of the cold weather. “Nobody wants to stand outside the student center or Rawlings freezing their limbs off, so we just congregated in the library.”
When asked if he still visits the library during the warm weather, Ragland laughs saying, “Of course. I have to go somewhere to get my work done because it won’t happen in my room.”
The library, built in 2008, is named after Morgan’s 11th President, Dr. Earl S. Richardson, primarily known for his efforts in the renovation of Morgan’s campus.
This library is over 200,000 square feet and holds 400,000 volumes of books and over 1,900 periodical titles.
“Every day I walk past the library, it’s as if a switch goes off in my head. The library leaves every student in a learning atmosphere, ready to take on the world,” says Myles Pryor, a senior majoring in business management.
Pryor says that he began to comprehend the powers of the library in his sophomore year after having a class presentation inside. A couple days later, Pryor was hooked on the library and its resources.
“Not only can you find books to help you study for your classes, but there is also a limitless amount of texts that can be used for research materials,” he says. “I can usually be found in one of the aisles on the third floor of the library looking for different texts.”
Surveys taken within the library shows that students primarily use the library to study, socialize, relax, and meditate. Fifty students found inside the library were questioned on their main use of the library before the library was open 24 hours a day. Fifty more students were asked the same after the library was open 24 hours a day for finals week. Their results were then compared and contrasted among each other.
Tyra Smalls, a second semester freshman, utilizes the library primarily for study uses. “Whenever I get some homework or papers to complete, I always come straight to the library. I can put my complete focus into my work whenever I visit the library.”
Those who study were the largest group in the first survey, and it was even higher in the second survey.
“If you use the library and the resources it offers, then you will have a more efficient matriculation at Morgan,” says Professor Adele Newson-Horst, head of the Writing Lab in the library.
Not everyone is studying.
“I know that the library is built for you to study and conduct research, but my friends and I usually come into the library to get on the computers and chat among ourselves,” says Briana Whaley, a junior studying communications.
“Now that it is time to take these finals, we have been noticeably more focused in the library, but still set a little time aside for gossip,” says Whaley.
Others just appreciate the quiet.
“Before visiting the library, I make sure I set up an appointment to use a private study room. I always use a study room by myself, so I can relax my mind and won’t have to be a victim to any distractions,” says Michael Smith, a senior business management major.
Smith has been taking advantage of these study rooms since his freshman year and praises this as the reason he is graduating soon. “Without those rooms, I really don’t think I would have made it this far in my matriculation at Morgan State.”
Albert Speed, a junior majoring in communications, used to work on the sign-in desk at the library. “It’s great to see students using the resources that are given to them. I used to recognize a lot of the faces that would commonly visit the library to study.”
When asked about any funny mishaps he has observed in the library, Speed reminisces back to the end of spring semester in 2012 when the library was open 24/7.
“Final exam week had arrived at Morgan, and students were taking full advantage of the library hours. Every night on the top of the hour, I would have to walk the library and wake up any students who were sleeping. The hours of three and four o’clock was always where I would find the most victims. Students would be sleep at computer desks, chairs, and some of them were even found on the floor. This was always the highlight of my workday in the library.”