Library to hand out maps, soda

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The beginning of each semester always finds several students wandering across campus with a compact map glued to their faces. These students are usually in a frenzied search for Umberger or Thompson Halls, desperate to arrive at the right building and classroom before the bells sound. Though it is an often-entertaining ritual for many upperclassmen, amusement is about the only purpose this technique serves. New students fret no more: there is a better way.

From 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Tuesday on the lawn between Hale Library and the English and Counseling Services building, library faculty members will offer directions, easy-to-read maps and ice-cold beverages to students who need assistance or just need to quench their thirst.

The support service, known as “Information Oasis,” began a number of years ago after library staff members noticed several students dropping by the library to ask for directions.

“We would get so many questions inside the library from students who would come in and try to figure out where their classes were,” said Sara Kearns, associate professor in Hale Library. “It seemed like there must be more students than just those who came that needed help.”

And the annual help stand was born.

The oasis was set up on Saturday for those hoping to get their bearings before classes began and will go through Tuesday.

“[We usually have] a lot of transfer students, international students and freshmen drop by,” said Laurel Littrell, associate professor in Hale Library, “but it’s really for anybody who needs directions or anybody who’s out and about and thirsty.”

In previous years facilitators gave away free bottles of water, but thanks to PepsiCo Inc., students passing by now can grab a free soda as well. Kearns said the Oasis helped hundreds of students this weekend, and though the tent will close at 3 p.m. today and Tuesday, students are still encouraged to drop by the library after hours with any inquiries.

“We just want people to ask questions,” she said. “Even if they don’t see us out here, just come inside. We’re pretty good at answering a lot of questions about campus or any other information you might need.”

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