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Why we should normalize sitting on the floor of libraries

Because there’s nothing wrong with sitting on the floor of public spaces, whether you’re a floor person or not

<p>The freedom to sit or lie on a floor surface helps combat this for me and I am sure it could do so for others as well.&nbsp;</p>

The freedom to sit or lie on a floor surface helps combat this for me and I am sure it could do so for others as well. 

It feels as if we are at the point of the semester in which things get even more chaotic than they were before. In some ways, that feels a little impossible given how busy the last few weeks have been. At the same time, somehow the upcoming weeks seem to hold even more chaos. With that being said, I have found myself spending more and more time in libraries. 

My level of productivity almost always increases tremendously when working in a library setting. However, I find that I can never maintain that productivity for too long — there always seems to be something that disrupts my ability to continuously work with ease in an environment as such. 

What might that be, you ask? Let me tell you — the sitting situation. 

From the cubicles at the Brown Science and Engineering Library to the benches on the third floor of Clemons Library, libraries around Grounds have a variety of seating options and arrangements. While this is great if you want to be seated in a chair while working, it fails to address having a space where students can work on the floor and do so without drawing attention to themselves. 

As the type of person who prefers the floor, this is a topic I feel strongly about. In fact, I wrote an article a few months ago about how I self-proclaimed myself as a “floor girl” and in that piece, I shared an experience in which I got a few concerning looks because I was laying on the floor of a library. I am circling back to that today as an effort to normalize doing so. 

I realize it may sound a little silly to be advocating for people to be able to sit on floors — it is a rather simple thing if you think about it. However, it can greatly alter one’s experience. As I mentioned, my productivity often feels constrained by only being able to sit in a chair. The freedom to sit or lie on a floor surface helps combat this for me and I am sure it could do so for others as well. 

While public spaces such as libraries could contribute to normalizing this by creating dedicated spaces where students can sit or lay on floors, I think a large part of the effort falls onto us as individuals. What I mean by this is that we can actively work to break the stigma that it is odd or socially unacceptable to use the floor as a work or study space.  

If we think about it, there is not one real or correct one way to study. What one might see as typical could be seen as unconventional by another. For example, one of my friends can’t write papers with any background music and I absolutely have to have some type of music playing in the background for me to get my thoughts out. The same kind of goes for choosing to study on the floor versus in a chair. It’s all about what works best for you and allows your creativity as well as productivity to thrive. 

On a similar note, there are no rules saying that you can’t just sit on the floor of a library — technically speaking. So if you’re a fellow floor person, I encourage you to choose to do so the next time you are studying on Grounds! For those who are more comfortable in chairs, be an ally to your floor friends — even sitting near them and acting normal about the situation can help normalize this! 

I know it might seem unhygienic and maybe this is the mindset that causes people to question why people are sitting on floors of public spaces — I couldn’t tell you. What I can say though is that as a Nursing student and a rather big germaphobe, I don’t see it as unhygienic! I almost never lay in a clean space such as my bed with my clothes I wore outside during the day. Thus, the possible germs that I get from the floor are discarded into my hamper as soon as I come home. The worry about germs is also something that could be reduced if more spaces dedicated to working on the floor in places such as libraries were created! 

I think it’s obvious that I feel so passionately about this given that I am a floor person. Talking about this goes beyond just my passion though. I bring this up as an effort to contribute to creating more inclusive and comfortable study spaces for all people such as my fellow floor people. 

The next time you’re studying at a library and see someone sitting or lying on the floor, act normal and try not to give them a second glance. If you’re feeling bold, maybe even join them. Who knows, maybe you could become a fellow floor person! 

Zoya Zahid is a life columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com.

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