The library culture at Colgate University is aggressive.
At W&J, I worked in the library. I spent so much time there, actually, that when I met people outside of the library, about one out of three people would say “Hey! You work at the library!” On one hand, I thought it was a little creepy that people were watching me while I worked. On the other hand, I did sit at the circulation desk right in front, and I was there a lot. I was Library Girl.
The U. Grant Miller Library is not aesthetically brilliant. It’s kind of brown. And it’s only two stories. And apparently some people think we don’t have very many books. But I love that place. It’s extremely functional. They have tons of periodicals (fun fact: the lib has a subscription to Playboy going back to 1954. That’s older than the library building itself). And they’re really good about ordering new books. And they have a giant DVD collection. I spent a serious chunk of my college career hiding in that building. It was comfortable, familiar and homey. I may have gotten pizza(s) delivered there.
The Case Library at Colgate is not homey. Beautiful, yes. Grand, yes. Cold and full of glass, yes. I’m willing to bet that there are comfortable reading chairs somewhere, but I haven’t seen them. I’m in a conference room on the fifth floor studying with my friend Andrew (he’s studying, I’m writing this post and hydrating my hangover away). I really wanted to go exploring, because this is a very big building and school libraries always have the best periodicals and fun displays. But as I started roaming the third floor, I became painfully conscious of the sound my flip flops were making. This library is really fucking quiet. I used the last of my courage to find the magazines on the fourth floor, snatch up the latest copies of The Paris Review, The Iowa Review and Publisher’s Weekly, and tiptoe back up to the conference room.
The conference room is located off of The Reading Room, which is the quietest part of the whole library. If you were to dare to drop a pin in there, I’m pretty sure the sheer force of angry glares from overworked students would keep it suspended above the carpet. I’ve had to use the bathroom twice already and I think next time I open the door they’re going to quietly lock me out.
Everyone is so well-dressed. I’m not used to seeing so many shampooed people at the library on a Saturday afternoon. I have not seen a single pair of sweatpants. I might understand if this was a great place to meet people, but even sneezing is frowned upon here, let alone asking for someone’s number. I myself am sporting my trusty flannel, leggings, and Reefs, and a top bun that’s doing a mediocre job of hiding my unwashed hair. Any moment now I’m expecting the girl at the circulation desk to silently hand me a citation for damaging the academic-chic aesthetic.
If Colgate kids put as much effort into other aspects of their lives as they do into their withering stares, I understand why they tend to be so successful.