Pickler Memorial Library is a resident hotspot here on campus most weeknights and weekends. It’s the place for late-night study sessions, multiple Starbucks trips and many mental breakdowns. Beyond what the library has to offer, however, there is one aspect many students and visitors often overlook when making their daily or weekly visit to Pickler: the library staff.
Among the front desk workers, research professionals and technical service employees are the lesser known night monitors, a position I’ve held since fall 2018. The job of night monitor entails the glorious duties of pushing in chairs, picking up trash left behind by less-than-thoughtful students, making sure emergency exit doors remain locked and completing nightly building counts. While I’m appreciative for the toned legs Pickler’s three floors have given me, there are also parts of the job which make it a pain, mainly the disrespect from fellow students. The amount of people who don’t push in their chairs, leave half-eaten food and stray wrappers on the desks and ground, and generally don’t clean up after themselves make the late shift — 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. — nearly unbearable. It’s understandable during finals week when stress is high and lack of sleep makes remembering to throw away your empty Starbucks cup a lost cause, but this occurs daily once school starts back up every year. And it needs to stop.
Not pushing in your chair once you’ve finished writing the hardest essay of your life or forgetting to toss the tissues you used to wipe away your tears after completing a complicated biology lab isn’t grounds for punishment, and that’s not the point I’m trying to make. But when there are a large amount of students in the library and the majority of them don’t clean up after themselves, don’t push in their chairs and stay in the building even two minutes after close, it’s hard to not feel disrespected by my fellow classmates as both an employee and a student here at Truman — and it doesn’t only impact night monitors. The library’s janitor — who is the sweetest woman I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting — suffers too, probably more than the night monitors, and I don’t think those who visit Pickler realize just how many people they affect with these small acts of indifference.
I’m not trying to come for every person who visits Pickler. Not every shift consists of me having to pick up stray trash and push in what feels like millions of chairs, but unfortunately most of them are like that. It takes mere seconds to throw away your empty Chick-fil-A bag or push in your chair before rushing off to your next class, but it’s these little things that make my job — and the jobs of others — much easier. I just wish that those visiting the library were more mindful of their actions and aware that others have to work twice as hard to compensate for their carelessness.