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To celebrate the recent announcement of the library being open twenty-four hours a day, five days a week, four members of Bailrigg FM took up the task of spending a full 24 hours in the library.
Ellie Vowles, Sebastian Cooper, Jack Schofield and Griff Jones pledged to spend an entire day’s stint within the walls of the library as a way of raising awareness and encouraging students to make full use of these new hours. By the end of the challenge, only Vowles and Cooper were left in the library, and they spoke to SCAN about their experience.
“We wanted to promote the fact that the library is now open 24 hours a day, because we felt like nobody really seemed to notice, as it’s not been promoted enough”, Vowles said. “When we were telling people about the challenge, people’s response was, ‘What are you talking about, it’s not open for 24 hours.’
The group attracted lots of attention within the first few hours of the challenge, and, between the many visits received from students and regular updates to Bailrigg FM, they managed to keep busy and pass the time.
“We did loads of stuff while we were in there: we invited listeners to set up challenges, we played sardines, we watched films and we played videogames,” Vowles said, but, laughing, added that “we didn’t really do any work though, which sort of defeated the object of being in the library for so long!”
The competitors were not allowed to leave the library at any point, or else they faced disqualification; Schofield and Jones were disqualified around 12 hours into the challenge, but Vowles and Cooper managed to stay. Cooper added, “The weather the next day was amazing – some of the best Lancaster’s seen so far – and I’m so glad that wasn’t the day we did the challenge.”
It is clear that the new library hours are receiving use from other students, as the pair observed that “people were arriving at the library to work from around 5am,” and many students of Lancaster have been posting on Twitter and Facebook about how packed the library has been during exam period. However, this has led to many complaints of people leaving their belongings strewn over tables and then failing to return for hours at a time, something that has become known as ‘towelling’.
The Bailrigg team emphasised that throughout their endeavour they “ran into no trouble with the librarians, although we had another student approach us and ask us to be quiet once. We did our best to be considerate whilst making our audio recordings.”
Overall, the pair hope that they have achieved their goal of promoting the new hours to other students, although they have both suffering from lack of sleep. Vowles quipped, “If I never see the inside of a library again, it’ll be too soon.” Their 24 hours in the library also included a visit from newly elected FTO for Education, Joe O’Neill. One of O’Neill’s main policies whilst running for election was to lobby for a 24-hour library for the benefit of students, earning him the title ‘FTjOe’. Clips from the twenty-four challenge, including survival tips, can be found at audioboo.fm.