Sometimes I want to read in very particular places.

There are very few places on my college campus that I can say I still miss with any sort of longing, but one of them is definitely our library. Dinand wasn’t my first choice when it came to studying – I was more a study-in-my-room-instead-of-slogging-across-campus kinda girl. Of course, my freshman year when the first big round of exams were upon me, I didn’t know that about myself. So I did what I thought I was supposed to be doing and I packed up my textbooks and my index cards and my highlighters, pens, and (forbidden) snacks and set out for the library.

As I recall, I didn’t get much studying done that night; I went exploring instead. For those who like hidden rooms, tucked away staircases, nooks, annexes, and all other sorts of magical architectural features, Dinand is a wonder. There were two (and a half?) floors underground. Hidden hallways and recesses everywhere. Creaky elevators and more mundane seeming rooms upstairs. There was a room off to the right of the main see-and-be-seen room (and probably down a little) that I honestly never knew about until the end of my junior year when I was trying to find my way out of a particular labyrinth of rooms. There were rooms I didn’t find until I saw their windows as I was walking back from class and purposely went looking for them during my next adventure. So there was a sense of mystery and exploration always hovering in the air.

Dinand always had the mood you needed for whatever particular bit of reading you had to do. There was the main room, the see-and-be-seen room, with large tables, rows of computers for searching the archives, big windows, bright lights, and lots of co-eds. The two main sub-floors – for I spent most of my time in Dinand underground – were mostly brightly lit and used by study-groups, sort-of-scheduled hey-let’s-bump-into-each-other-later hook-up spots, and lots of study corrals and stuffed chairs for lounging and reading. It was down near the fiction section where I would read between classes, mostly unbothered, because who ever bothers with the fiction section in a co-ed library unless you’re looking for some peace and quiet? And when I really needed to get away, there was the really bottom floor accessible by a hidden(ish) staircase that was situated in the middle of the stacks. The overhead light was much dimmer down there – practically non-existent – and much of it you had to turn on by dimmers set to timers on the ends of each stack.

Dinand seemed to evoke a bit of everything, from a haunted Victorian mansion to your mother’s kitchen table where you absolutely must buckle down and study to the Monday night hang-out. There are still times when I think I could just be somuch more productive if I was sitting at one of Dinand’s giant tables and having to prove why I needed to hoard so much space. Or how gratifying a nap would be tucked up into my favorite “fiction chair” down in the stacks. Of course, I’m glad I don’t have to climb the eleventy-bazillion stairs out front that Dinand conjured to cover the ‘torture-chamber’ requirement, but some days I miss even those.

There are lots of places near and dear to my heart back home. And this week – whether it’s the beginning of fall, or my concentration on my research project, or Kim’s new class – Dinand has been calling out to me more than usual.


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4 Responses to “Sometimes I want to read in very particular places.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    It sounds perfect. No wonder you are missing it.

  2. Kim Says:

    My calves certainly haven’t been missing those stairs, but I run them every W & F after class. Oof!

  3. Agent Torklepants Says:

    what about that roooom, that has that HUGE fireplace thats sort of sunken and has stairs going to it…. its very Beauty and the Beast…you know what im tlaking about?

  4. Erin Says:

    When I was a senior in college, I got a brochure with the most beautiful picture on it of a library at dusk. That photo made me keep the brochure instead of binning it like I did with all the rest. I figured it had to mean something that they’d put the library on the front of their brochure…

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