Students and staff in the Regenstein Library were surprised to find themselves in partial darkness as the majority of the lights went out on all floors of the library at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to James Vaughan, assistant director for access and facilities at the Reg, the power outage was mostly concentrated in the center of each floor, while lights remained on in scattered wings, including the southeast and southwest corners.
Confusion reigned among students and staff as a significant number of computers continued to function in the darkness, but other computers did not function even where there was light.
Soon after the shortage began, Vaughan said that he had called the University electric shop, and that it was on the way to help resolve the outage. He added that other areas of campus did not appear to be affected by the power outage.
By the time the lights came back on half an hour later, the library staff was still clueless as to the cause of the blackout. David Larsen, head of Access Services, speculated that it might have had something to do with the rain. Benjamin Murphy, library privileges supervisor, noted that the University's facilities services has been working to automate some of the lights in the Reg, and that the outage might have resulted from those operations. He said, however, that such reasons were only hearsay.
Watching students continue to read using windows and emergency lights, Judy Lindsey, development director at the Reg, was inspired.
"It's wonderful," Lindsey said. "It really shows something about the resiliency of Chicago students."
Student reactions to the blackout were mixed. "It was greatI happened to be sleeping when the power went off, and I woke up wondering where I was," said Nicole Beckman, a second-year in the College.
Abra Pollock, a fourth-year in the College, was forced to read an article on-line while the printers were out of service, and complained of eyestrain.
Ari Grey, also a fourth-year in the College, was at a loss for words. "I just don't understand," he said.