Brain Booth works as a library lifesaver

By Christine Harris
Flapjack staff

Students and faculty at HSU have been on campus for four weeks now. Some of us are already experiencing the stress and overwhelmed feelings that accompany getting back into our school routines. Most likely in the next few weeks our classes will have back to back tests, a presentation, and a huge group project that will be due at the end of the semester and count for most of our grade. Also, don’t forget about your job or multiple jobs, and the internship. Overall these coming weeks probably are not going to have a lot of “you time,” but don’t worry the library is here to save us.

You are thinking, “The library really? How could they possibly save me from not stressing?”

Two words — Brain Booth.

The Library Brain Booth is a new addition to the many resources the library has to offer its students and staff. It is a program that is helping and teaching those who visit how to take mindful brain breaks. Inside the rooms, there are a variety of activities and resources available to those who come.

The Brain Booth offers  six stations for people to participate in; Biofeedback Station, Relaxation and Contemplation Station, Gaming Station, Virtual Reality Station, and a Light Therapy Station and Recommended Reading Section ( For the Virtual Reality station the Brain Booth does ask that you bring your own phone). This program is new to our campus and has been going on since the beginning of September.

The event is sponsored by the HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation and the Office of Research, Economics and Community Development. Marissa Mourer, librarian for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, is one of the people in charge of the study. She explained the idea behind having the Brian Booth at Humboldt.

“I have had students come up to me after class or when I’m at the Help Desk in the library very flustered and overwhelmed, and they tell me they find it difficult to unplug from their day to day tasks,” Mourer said. “So I want to teach students that taking mindful brain breaks can refresh us.”

brain-booth-copyThe web page for the Brain Booth states under the “research study” tab that “observational research is being conducted to identify levels of engagement with activities, technologies, and exhibits for all Library Brain Booth visitors.” Mourer said that since it is all anonymous work she is unable to verbally asks students how they feel after participating. However, she stated that she had a gentleman who self-reported to her after being in the Brain Booth that it was exactly what he needed.

Emily Baker, a 24-year-old kinesiology student, said she enjoyed the Gaming Station.

“I liked the game that is at the Gaming Station because while it was relaxing it helps and improves hand coordination and motor learning,” Baker said.

Ryan Sendejas, 29-year-old environmental studies major, said he came to do one of his favorite activities.

“I came out of curiosity,” he stated. “Also I like to color and I saw that that they had a station that has coloring.”

Will both of them come back to Brain Booth? They both said they definitely would.

“It’s my second time coming to Brain Booth, so I’m pretty sure I’ll keep coming back,” Sendejas said.

Mourer expressed that her favorite section is the Biofeedback Station where she uses the Heart Rate Variability machine to help her concentrate on her breathing and increase heart rate variability from lowest to highest heart rate.

The Brain Booth is available to students and staff in the Library on Wednesdays from ten am to noon in room 114, and on Thursdays from one pm to three pm in room 208. If you are unable to attend the Brain Booth through its available hours, they provide outside resources in the library for students.

“Because the Brain Booth is only available four hours a week I wanted to allow students who are interested, but unable to attend during our hours, the opportunity to still access some of our tools,” Mourer said. “Also they can use these tools if they don’t want to be a part of the study. Overall it is for the pure benefit of the students.”

Some of the outside tools include the Meditation Room, a collection of DVDs and books, and new FitDesks that are located on the second floor of the library.

The Brain Booth will continue through the semester, Mourer said.

“It will be based on interest and the traffic that it gets,” she said. “But our main focus is the support of mindfulness in the academic library for our students.”

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