#15 left-overs

A private security guard sits at the library entrance six nights a week, after the university opened its libraries 24 hours a day, serving students working through the night to prepare for exams. There are no librarians present. It is the security guards who take care of students’ safety and well-being. Most are on zero-hour contracts and when doing nightshifts they work from 4pm until 9am. They only get a few hours of sleep as they commute large distances and need to be back at work on time for another 16-hour shift. Some take pills as it is hard to get a proper rest.  “We are the left-overs of society”, says the security guard whom I join during his nocturnal round through the premises, passing through tunnels and corridors and listening to the noises of machines that operate throughout the night. It is important to listen, he says, anything can go wrong –explosions, breaking-in, water dripping. Noises are vital signals as you can’t see much in the dark. Older buildings make sounds by themselves: they have ‘character’. That can be creepy when tired, your mind starts playing tricks.

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