Cramming Cookies and Coffee

The library is hosting an Exam Cram on Monday, Dec. 16 from 7 p.m. to midnight for students who need study time for exams, extra help with final papers and projects, or a little free caffeine to get them through the week.

This is the fifth year the library has held an Exam Cram.

“The reason we started doing this is because it is a very stressful time for students. We wanted to provide quiet places for them to study. We also wanted to have a little bit of stress relief for them and also provide help for them,” said Nerissa Nelson, a Reference and Instruction Librarian.

One of the biggest draws of this event is the unlimited free coffee and cookies offered to students. Librarians will put out a fresh tray of cookies and more coffee every hour. The cookies and coffee will be set up in the Idea Studio on the first floor, just off the main circulation area. In past years, 50 to 60 students have come every hour for the cookies and last year they went through 85 pots of coffee.

“The first year we put everything out at once and that was a huge mistake, they basically were gone right away,” Nelson said.

Andy Pech, an Outreach Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, said that he has been handing out cookies and coffee during finals week for about 10 years now. Pech said that the library is given a small budget for the Exam Cram that they use to purchase the cookies.

“The students love it,” Pech said. “We used to do it on a volunteer​basis, people would bake cookies and bring them in, but the students liked it so much it got to be thousands of cookies. I think because it is getting close to Christmas time that students are getting a little homesick and when they come in here and are given cookies it’s kind of like comfort food.”

The Exam Cram is run by volunteers. The librarians and the library staff come in to help with the event, putting out the cookies and coffee every hour, offering assistance to any students who need help and clean up after the event is over. There are also reference librarians available until 11 p.m. to help with any last minute citations or articles.

Besides the librarian volunteers, tutors from the Tutoring and Learning Center will also work late to assist students with any work they need help with. The tutors will be in the IMC lab on the third floor of the library.

In addition to the free cookies and coffee they will also be giving out some free T-shirts and fortunes.

The Exam Cram is based off a similar program in Madison. It worked so well there that a librarian who formerly worked in Madisonrecommended that they start a program here. It originally started as a pajama exam cram.

“Not a lot of people wore their pajamas so we scratched that idea,” Nelson said.

Libraries at some of the larger schools keep their libraries open all night during finals week but the UWSP library runs its normal hours for finals. Nelson said that they have considered the idea of staying up 24/7 or having extended hours but she doesn’t believe there is a need for it at this time.

Sarah McQueen

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