With finals fast approaching, the University of Colorado is bracing for a surge of test-cramming students to descend on the Boulder campus’ newest late-night hotspot: a high-tech, 24-hour study lounge inside Norlin Library.
Norlin Commons — a $5.1 million renovation of part of the library’s first floor — has been a hit with students since it debuted at the beginning of this semester. Unlike the main library, the commons is open 24/7 until finals end on Dec. 17.
Norlin Library hours:
8 a.m.-midnight through Thursday
7:30-2 a.m. Friday-Dec. 16
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 17
Norlin Commons hours:
Open 24 hours, Friday-Dec. 16
Midnight-5 p.m. Dec. 17
“It’s just phenomenal the amount of students we’ve seen in here,” said Deborah Fink, planning and promotions librarian. “If you walk around the building, you’ll see kids in every corridor, in every aisleway, utilizing every single electric outlet for their laptops.”
And that was before they even began studying for finals, which start Saturday.
CU senior Kristine Gahnstrom said she and her friend, senior Molly Coufal, study in the lounge “all the time.”
“It’s nice that it’s open late,” Coufal said Tuesday afternoon. “Plus, you can get food from the coffee shop. The hours are great.”
With a capacity of 300, the study lounge is open 24 hours a day Monday through Thursday during the semester, and houses brightly lit workstations with flat-screen monitors, private study rooms, a video conference room and laptop rentals. There’s even a late-night coffee shop — a branch of Pearl Street’s popular Laughing Goat Coffeehouse.
Since opening, Fink said, the number of students using Norlin Commons has jumped from just eight in the early morning hours of late August to regularly filling up with 300.
“The laptop carts are almost always empty,” Fink said. “There’s over 200 laptops available and they’re in constant circulation — they’re almost always in constant check-out. We’ve had unbelievable success with this lounge.”
With all the foot traffic and the bustle of the nearby Laughing Goat café, the lounge emits a low hum of activity, even during the daytime hours.
That doesn’t bother Coufal.
“I think it’s good, it’s the perfect mixture,” the CU senior said. “People aren’t necessarily afraid to talk like some areas in a quiet library, but it’s not crazy.”
Junior Zach Kennelly, who was studying in the commons on Tuesday, said he prefers the quiet of the main Norlin Library.
“I usually study upstairs where it’s quiet,” Kennelly said. “But I like that there is a place on campus that’s open 24 hours to study. Especially when the rest of the library is closed, I would for sure come here to study.”
With the commons’ first round of final exams on the horizon, Fink said library officials are bracing themselves for a busy week.
“As someone who’s been here for 30 years,” Fink said, “I have never experienced the kind of crowds I do now. We don’t know what finals are going to bring.”