Working for the weekend at Wells Library


Diane Dallis-Comentale, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries, imagined and piloted the first Friday Finish in spring 2022, using free food to incentivize longer periods of studying. She invited IU academic and support units to join in Fall 2023, expanding the academic, wellness, and advising offerings. The idea, she explained, is to give students a reward for finishing up work before the weekend. She noticed, especially since the pandemic, a quieter vibe on campus, as some students don’t have Friday classes and begin the weekend a day sooner.

“I know students having one more day of spending focused, supported time on campus can only be a positive to their academics and for building our community,” said Dallis-Comentale. 

She also reasoned that encouraging students to study on Fridays and rewarding efforts with food, crafts, and massages would recognize and encourage their commitment, and improve student retention by preventing rushed assignment completion on Sunday nights. 

A person with long hear and wearing glasses and a jean jacket smiles while holding a white rabbit
Diane Dallis-Comentale, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries

 "We — and that includes all of the deans and schools partnering with us — absolutely want all students to leverage what IU has to offer," she said.

IU Libraries is incredibly thankful to its 2023 and 2024 Friday Finish sponsors and partners

The Office of the Chief Health OfficerCampus Auxiliary ServicesThe Office of Undergraduate EducationThe Media SchoolThe Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + DesignThe Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and EngineeringThe Jacobs School of MusicThe Career Development CenterThe Kelley School of BusinessSchool of Public HealthUniversity Information Technology ServicesThe School of Social WorkWriting Tutorial ServicesMoneySmartsThe IU Graduate SchoolOffice of First Year ExperienceMonroe County Public Library 


Four young people stand posed next to a cardboard cut-out of a life-size Herman B Wells photo
Meet the Chaos Coordinators! The Friday Finish depends on an excellent student staff to provide a safe and rewarding experience.
A green bookmobile is parked at a curb where a student walks by holding books.
The Monroe County Public Library brought its Bookmobile to campus one week to help students sign up for a public library card.
A large group of people are seating at tables covered in paper and full of art supplies. Everyone is working on a painting
Each week a maker activity is offered by IU Libraries Makerspace. It's a very popular part of the Friday Finish.
Two people sit behind a table surrounded by books. The tablecloth has an IU logo on it and the name Luddy.
For Banned Books week, the Library and Information Science department partnered with IU Libraries to offer a banned book pop-up library.
Two people are smiling and seated behind a table full of supplies for a 3D printer
UITS spent many Fridays in the Wells lobby offering technology support and a look at 3D printing equipment available on campus.
People holding phones aim at QR codes on a table full of literature while those seated at the table provide instructions
The Bloomington launch of Timely Care happened at the Friday Finish.

The weekly offering includes research and assignment consultations as well as drop-in appointments with peer coaches, Writing Tutorial Services and UITS help desks. Other IU entities, including School of Social Work and University Division, also offer services and activities in the library lobby.

“I think it was very valuable,” said Alice Dobie, University Division’s associate director of advising. “We had a steady stream of students coming to talk to advisers.”

At the academic advising table, Dobie said, information was given about tutoring and other services. She added that advisers also set up a prize wheel to win a coffee gift card if students answered questions, such as “What course to you look forward to taking next semester?”  The Friday Finish helped bring more students into the advising center earlier than usual, rather just at the end of registration, Dobie believes.

Two people stand happily next to a poster that promotes a crafting activity inside a library lobby
Initial numbers show Friday Finish served about 800 students weekly, based on 600 pizza slices and other food. Library numbers show as many as 7,000 visitors to spaces beyond the Wells Library Lobby on just one Friday alone. Every Friday this fall had more than 4,000 counted visits to library spaces.    

The IU School of Social Work staff encouraged students each Friday to get a wellness coach and told them the library offers services to help improve all aspects of wellness, including physical, emotional, social and other aspects.

“We are looking at all areas where you can coach them to improve their lifestyle,” said Michelle Moore, assistant clinical professor and Wellness at the Finish organizer. Staff asked students questions about time management and eating habits, for example, and offered activities like making healthy trail mix.

Overall, Dallis-Comentale said they found students wanted to talk with IU staff and educators.“Students gladly told us about their projects. They wanted a connection with someone,” she said. “It was lovely. If there is an entire fabric of a community that cares they’re successful ... students feel like they’re being seen.”


Two people stand at microphones, the man on the right plays a guitar

John Tweedie is the Assistant Dean for Finance and Human Resources for IU Libraries. He and his daughter provided live lo-fi study music one Friday afternoon.

Two people stand outside examining a telescope pointed at the ground
Paul Macklin, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at Luddy School, brought a telescope to the Friday Finish to promote an upcoming 2024 eclipse program.


A person wearing an IU Sweatshirt puts pizza on plates. She stands behind a stack of 60 pizza boxes
Aimee Heeter, Vice Provost for Finance and Administration, assists with pizza distribution.