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Returning to Carolina’s University Libraries

Take a look inside the University Libraries as our semester gets underway and hear what the Carolina community is excited for as they return to our campus' academic hubs.

A student studying in the library.
Scenes from Davis Library on August 19, 2021, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

For nearly a year and a half, as Carolina students studied from all corners of the world because of the pandemic, our University Libraries felt different. It just wasn’t the same without the late-night study sessions in Davis Library, students roaming the stacks and librarians working side-by-side with budding researchers.

The start of the new academic year has brought that energy back to our campus’ 10 libraries, and students, faculty and library staff are looking forward to a semester in the libraries.

Take a look inside the University Libraries as our semester gets underway and hear what the Carolina community is excited for as they return to our campus’ academic hubs.

“I’m a hands-on person, and I like being able to hold physical books. I missed being able to check out real books.”

Maddie Stahle, a Carolina junior

“Having full access to the libraries is vital for several reasons. When I go to check out a book, I am able to see other books that are related that I might not be aware of simply by doing a catalog search, and it expands the range of what I explore organically. In a similar way, the conversations that arise when you are with colleagues range across myriad topics from the practical, such as ordering new titles, to shared intellectual interests, such as somaesthetics. In these spontaneous conversations, we exchange relevant and important information and have fun together.”

Carol Magee, associate professor and chair of the College of Arts & Sciences’ art and art history department

“I missed the in-person interactions with researchers and especially student-researchers. I remember being an undergraduate at UNC and my first visit to Wilson [Library]. I was absolutely fascinated with being able to use these invaluable collections, and I imagine that my face looked a lot like the ones we see at the research room desk. Those responses and conversations were what I missed.”

Jason Tomberlin, head of special collections research and instruction at Wilson Library

“I missed having a designated space where I can study. When I was at home or in my apartment, it can get quite loud, so having a designated workspace is really nice.”

Joseph Adams, a Carolina junior

“What I missed most about the libraries was seeing my co-workers every day. I was only two weeks back from maternity leave when we had to start working from home in March 2020. … I also missed the level of interaction we had before that allowed us to help more people and let them know what our space and collection has to offer.”

Crystal Casparis, media materials processing manager at the Undergraduate Library’s Media and Design Center

“I’ve definitely missed the hands-on part of my work. One of my favorite things is coming in the next day and seeing the finished repairs and how they turned out. I get a lot of satisfaction when they turn out well. I also really missed the day-to-day consultations you have with colleagues.”

Lucas Darden, general collections conservation supervisor

“What I missed most about the libraries was just seeing everyone around studying and helping them out during the day.”

Nate Allen, a Carolina senior

“I love the library as a place to connect people with resources and to have conversations about the research they’re excited about. We do that remotely, too, of course, but there’s something about the combination of enthusiasm and seriousness that comes from being in the library that I really missed. It’s obvious that our patrons are energized to be back, too.”

Josh Hockensmith, art library assistant