Saturday, January 21, 2006

Care and Feeding - Filling in the Gaps

One thing law school librarians do very well is care and feeding of the students -- not literally, feeding, silly, but taking care of their bruised egos and psyches. For instance, many law school libraries offer special treats at exam time. At St. Louis University during my time there, Miss Searls made Christmas wreaths of hard candies that were put out for law students. Wow, talk about time-consuming! But the students certainly appreciated the candy. At Suffolk, we don't bother with the wreath, we just put hard candies into bowls, and offer it at both exam periods, along with disposable ear plugs. I have heard back from students, at least in favor of the candy, though the ear plugs go fast, too.

Last semester, Suffolk reference librarian Susan Vaughn had the inspiration to further reduce student stress by offering licensed massage therapists at those massage tables you see at airports. We tried to get the deans to spring for it, but they were unwilling, partly, I think because it was short notice, and the Dean of Students was not available right at decision time. So, I managed to raise the money from donations and we ran it, with music, two massage tables handouts and food, and drinks, on the nights before the two most stressful exams for the largest part of the student body. I was very impressed with the wide number of adminstrators and professors who were willing to chip in for the project. They were terrific. I hope in the future, it will be repeated, or something like it, supporting students at a terrible time. I had really forgotten just how awful it is to be a law student at exam time until I was talking with some of them. Wow! It took me back.

And now I am working on a project to add a little loveliness to the public ladies rooms in the library. They are decent enough in our new building, and kept quite clean. But there is no place in the building to buy tampons. The architects put great big machines in every single ladies' room to sell such things. But the deans decided they did not want to handle the money, I guess. So the machines sit there, empty, adding insult to injury, because they are not only empty, they also take up space that could be used for a shelf to put your stuff on, so you would not have to lay your books or purse on the floor (ugh!!). That creates a very small opportunity for a tiny table beneath those machines. I have bought some very pretty metal tables with tile tops, and cute enameled tin flower-pot holders. I have silk flowers for one side, and I have free tampons for the other. One week from this Sunday, I will be able to drive them down, and fix them up. I hope they fit -- they seem to from my measurements! I hope they look good and cheer the law students up.

I can't imagine what they guys would want in their bathroom. My husband the male librarians and friends have not been able to give me suggestions. We are giving all the public bathrooms small bottles of dish detergent to wash out their re-usable spill-proof mugs (I hope!). Maybe they'd like ice in the urinal. Hmmm.

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