University libraries offer student stress busters and extended hours through finals

Pet a pooch at the Knowledge Center and engineering puzzles at the DeLaMare are student favorites

12/10/2013 - By: Deanna Hearn
Kathy Ray, dean of University Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies, stands by the 11-ft. book tree that is now a holiday tradition in the Knowledge Center’s atrium. Photo courtesy of the Knowledge Center.

It's a particularly busy time of year for the libraries on the University of Nevada, Reno campus as students prepare for finals through Dec. 18 and complete end-of-the semester projects. That's why both the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center and DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library plan a little something special to ease the pressure while providing students greater opportunities to study by keeping the doors open longer.

The hours at both libraries have been extended Sunday through Thursday until 2 a.m. Regular hours apply on Fridays, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. DeLaMare Library will be open on Saturday and will have the same hours that day as the Knowledge Center, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Pet a pooch at the Knowledge Center in the Randall Rotunda on prep day, Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., is popular with the students, according to Amy Shannon, the librarian in charge of the event.

"We do what we can to help students relieve a little stress so they can really focus on what they need to. There is a body of research that shows when people pet animals, their blood pressure goes down, and it's a great stress reliever," Shannon said. "Therapy dogs have been used a lot in this context such as in hospitals, nursing homes and schools."
 
The dogs are provided by Paws 4 Love Therapy Dogs.

Stress busters at both libraries give students a break from studying. Beginning on Dec. 11, the Knowledge Center will provide crossword and jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, crayons and colored pencils to add some fun and lighten the intensity of the students' study regimens.

DeLaMare Library has found that keeping Legos Mindstorms and K'Nex toys give engineering students the breather they need throughout the year.

In keeping with tradition, the annual book tree, made of pre-1959 National Union Catalog Imprints, has once again taken center stage in the Knowledge Center's atrium. The 12-ft. tree is made of 450 books, all with evergreen covers and gold lettering, and weighs about 600 lbs. The base of the tree is comprised of 11 books placed in a circle. As the tree grows in height, the number of books decreases to one final book at the top where Wolfie Jr., one of the University mascots, sits in his Santa Claus hat.

"This is still the biggest book tree we've found," Alden Kamaunu said. Kamaunu is building operations manager at the Knowledge Center and the one who took librarian Erin Fisher's idea, and, with the help of library technician Larry Smith, designed and built the artistic tree when it was first created during the 2010 holiday season.

"We're lucky because we have that many books on hand of a specific collection," Kamaunu said. "We don't know of anyone else who has come up with a book tree this high."

The tree will stay up until early January 2014.


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