Powell past hours

by Grace Fontes

Powell Library’s night hours are 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., Mondays through Thursdays. Late Night Powell, as it is dubbed, began in 1996 with the intention of giving undergraduate and graduate students a place to study any time of day. Bruins are able to take advantage of this opportunity thanks to the Night Powell staff. A group of students from all majors and backgrounds man the desks as the sun goes down.

“We’re all just a big old dysfunctional cohesive family,” said Felicity Girty, a student who recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English. Girty has been working at Powell for over a year and a half. As an English major, she initially thought it would be cool to work in a library, a place where she could be surrounded by books. But now, her favorite aspect of the job is being around her coworkers.

Felicity Girty, an employee at Powell Library, offers a warm smile as she assists students amidst the library’s rich collection. Her dedication to the library’s mission is as clear as her joy in serving the academic community. Photographed by Emily Chandler/BruinLife.

For third-year mathematics/applied science student Charlotte Wolf, working in Powell gives her an opportunity that differs from her major. “Even as a STEM major, I really enjoy books, and working at a library allows me to be around them often,” she said.

Similar to Girty, Wolf enjoys her fellow student staff. She likes how the position attracts a variety of people, including those who have an interest in library science. Having worked since the start of spring quarter, she loves the quiet, relaxing atmosphere, especially after a particularly busy day.

Though it has been under construction for seismic improvements, the main reading room remains the favorite place of both workers, as well as many students.

“It’s so massive and it’s cool to see how fast it fills up with students,” said Girty.

Wolf described the general atmosphere of Late Night Powell as “academic” and “studious.” She finds it motivating to see how many students work so late into the night.

For Wolf, an average night is split into two. Half of her time is spent answering questions at the circulation desk. The other half is spent doing tasks such as shelf maintenance and counting people in the library. The workers at Powell also handle holds and books shipped from the mailroom. Books can be shipped from anywhere, even the Library of Congress, so it’s crucial to have the student workers there to figure out the book distributions.

Charlotte Wolf, a third-year mathematics and applied science major, assists with book returns at Powell Library where she works part-time. Her friendly demeanor brings a warm atmosphere to the studious surroundings. Photographed by Emily Chandler/BruinLife.

The Powell workers also have their fair share of interesting experiences and stories. Girty has dealt with a great deal of spam calls with various messages. In a particularly odd one, she was told how aliens came to the earth 4000 years ago. Wolf shared that, peculiarly, one of the most popular checked-out books is Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power,” a controversial novel known for teaching readers how to amass power in their own lives.

As people who are surrounded by books for hours every day, the student workers naturally have their own recommendations. Girty suggests “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, and Wolf’s favorites are Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon.”

The next time you’re hunkering down for finals past midnight, look out for the staff that allows this campus staple to continue.

Students study quietly at Powell Library, where a whiteboard filled with equations hints at the rigorous academic pursuits undertaken within these walls. The library’s classic architecture, complete with transom windows, provides a timeless space for scholarship and contemplation.

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