Tired students mill aimlessly around the top floor of the library, chatting with friends while their 'quick study breaks' stretch on longer than they originally were planning. Others stare blankly out the window or log onto facebook. Anything but homework. A peaceful, brain-numbing silence hangs over the place, broken only by the sound of a few voices in the computer lab and subdued laughing in the basement, followed closely by a joking "shh! Don't you know we are in the library?" Which is inevitably followed by more laughing.
All of them came with a purpose. Some wanted a quiet place to finish the last bit of the an essay. Others needed to get out of their dorm rooms. The library provides the refuge they seek, a place to hide for a while...at least until midnight. Some came to see a special someone and sit next to them while they work on their "homework". Others came to curl up in a chair while they read a Plato or Emerson, or skim through a textbook, wondering halfheartedly why they are even bothering. A few lucky ones are reading something they actually enjoy.
As the night ticks on, more and more people let their purposes slide. As closing time approaches, more succumb to the seductive claws of facebook. Many begin feeling the need to defy the silence, laughing loudly and hollering to a buddy across the room. However, after a few forced laughs and overly loud jokes, they always lower their voices again. The library is just that sort of place. The hermits begin coming out of their nooks and crannies, contemplating facing life again. People begin trickling, a few at a time, slowly out into the night.
Tonight, go to the library. Stay until closing time. As the library empties, stand still and listen for a minute. Tell me the whispered stories you hear.