Other Finals Week ideas

Last week I blogged about organizing snacks for students for finals week at my library. I forgot to mention that we had our school mascot, Wolfie, come on Sunday and Tuesday night to wander around and hand out candy. That went over really well, and I definitely plan to repeat that!

We also had someone volunteer to lead yoga workshops in the library. Unfortunately, since I got kind of overwhelmed with organizing the snacks and financial contributions, I dropped the ball on advertising that as well as I should have. Only two people showed up. I’m hesitant about trying again in the spring, since I will be teaching a credit bearing class (and grading final projects) for the first time then. So I think it’s more realistic to try that one again next fall.

While our students seemed pretty happy with our finals week activities, I kept an eye out on twitter and facebook and found some really great ideas to steal from other universities!

On Dec. 6, @mrlibrarydude, aka Joe Hardenbrook, tweeted that he was “Planning stress-relieving activities for finals week in the library: therapy dogs, coloring, book ripping, crafts.” Wait, what? Book ripping? How awesome is that?! Of course, that depends on having a stack of discards that nobody else will use. But I love that idea!

Photo by Gwinnett County Public Library
I also love the idea of bringing therapy dogs in. When I put the whiteboard out for students to tell us what they want for finals week, one person requested kittens… I’m not sure that would go over well, but trained therapy dogs would be awesome and about as close as we could safely get to that! I thought about bringing my puppy and sitting outside for a bit during the day, since she LOVES people, but she’s not trained well enough to come inside the library.

He also mentioned that his library got some of those ideas from UW-Madison’s finals week activities. Providing crayons and coloring pages is another idea that sounds like it could be a lot of fun. And we tried to take some photos of the super-crowded library and the lines for snacks, but having students send in photos of themselves studying would do some of that work for us!

Elsewhere, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University added some sustainability to their free coffee offerings. We tried to encourage students to bring their own mugs, but I didn’t promote that as well as I could have. Students at Wake Forest went one step further and collected mugs for students to use and keep. I definitely plan to try to steal that idea, assuming I can get some students from our Go Green initiative interested in collecting old ceramic mugs to give away!

And, of course, coming back around to the topic of snacks… Brian Mathews at Virginia Tech went for a simpler yet possibly more attractive option than we did: grilled cheese sandwiches. They set up two electric griddles and made hot, fresh sandwiches! I’m not sure my library could spring for two griddles in the near future (we just bought a couple of 42-cup coffee urns for this time), but it’s a great idea to keep in mind for the future!

3 thoughts on “Other Finals Week ideas

  1. My college’s health services had a stress-relief event one or two days during finals week. We had coloring books, chocolate/candy, nail polish, chair massage, and one of those hot wax dips for your hands.

    On one night, also, the professors would take over the dining hall and serve pancakes around 8:00 p.m.

    My personal favorites were anything with comfortable food (not vegetable sticks), but coloring was fun, too.

    1. Thanks for the ideas, Jill! I totally expected the students to agree with you about food choices — comfort food, not health food — but they went through the grapes & tangerines as quickly as they went through the cookies! Granted, the baby carrots were definitely less popular!

  2. We do have that George Foreman in the cabinet up in IS which could be used as a sandwich press. It’s not the exact same as grilled cheese, but you could try it.

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