Do you have a favorite place in Rice Library? Besides Starbucks, of course. I’ve spent a lot of time here in the library, even before I worked here. I get WAY too distracted in my own apartment to do much in the way of homework, and this place has tons of computers and books and even more interesting distractions, so it’s an ideal building to find a place to actually try to accomplish things. And, honestly, when I first came to USI on a campus tour, one of the things that really sold me on the school was its big, fancy library. I don’t know if it’s normal to select your place of higher education partially based on how much you dig their sparkly new library, but it is kinda what I did! OK, so it opened in 2006 and isn’t so brand-new anymore…but you have to admit it’s impressive! Oh, and I came to USI for the excellent English program, competitive price range, growing campus, and friendly faculty and students, but the library was a big plus! And really, my love of this library has never really ended. Over my (many) years here, I have discovered a few places in particular that I just love, and now that I am about to graduate, I’ll share my thoughts on these places to read, places to relax, and just parts of the library that I really like. Think about what your favorite places are, while I show you some of mine!
When I think of a classic library (ancient books, wise and mysterious librarian, couple secret passageways) the Archives on the third floor are sort of a miniature version. Lots of old books, some on the rare side, and archival records, with old-timey looking chairs and tables. It has lots of collections as well, especially of USI and Evansville history, like an enormous collection of old USI yearbooks (yeah, we used to have yearbooks- go figure) and a display of USI articles and advertisements of the past. I just like looking at things there, smelling the old book smell (it’s a thing I swear), and just being there in the quiet. If you think you might fall asleep, just stare at the funky carpet to wake up. Yeah, a lot of people don’t really know about the Archives, so when you go its usually pretty quiet and peaceful. And one of these days, I swear I am going to find that secret passageway.
Browsing Periodicals Section
In the Periodical Browsing Section, the part of the library right by the newspapers and magazines, is another part of the library that I am pretty fond of. Whereas the University Archives are quiet and out of the way, the section on the first floor by the magazines, right near the Promised Land (Starbucks) is part of the library’s busiest, noisiest floor. Where The Archives are contained and cozy, this place is big and full of echoes because it’s open to the ceiling of the second floor. It’s got huge walls with big windows, so it’s filled with light and sounds. It also has the magazine racks, which have everything from Catholic Digest, Newsweek, or Rolling Stone, to the previously mentioned Ms. Magazine. It has lots of big, comfy chairs to sit in, and tables to study on. I just really like doing work here. It’s quiet (still a library) but also right on the main floor where the most is going on, so it’s not too out of the way. More importantly it also has that cool wooden staircase that goes up to the second floor, leading to a balcony at the top, where you can gaze down at the whole section and enjoy the pretty views, or just creep on people. It’s actually my favorite part of the section, so go to the top of the staircase and be prepared to creep.
Grand Reading Room
Alright, you know that story I told in the beginning about coming to USI because I loved its library? And how I said I was kidding? Alright I was, but this place? This room? Honest to God this is a huge reason I started paying more attention to USI. You know on the second floor, that big blue room, with the giant walls, and big windows, that’s so dang quiet every time you open the door you feel like you’re smashing through a forest? When I went on my fist campus tour, I looked through the windows on the third floor down into this room (it’s a really cool view) and I was in love. Well, I was more in shock that a school had such a giant room for students to study in (I didn’t get out much apparently). But you know what? I still love this room. It’s so quiet it can almost be a little unsettling, but once you get used to it, it’s just very peaceful and easy to relax in. It’s also a great place to hear musicians or speakers, but mostly, I just find it incredibly tranquil. Yes it’s been years since that first visit, and my first look at the Rice Library, but dang it, I haven’t stopped loving this room, and when I leave, I still might have to sneak back just once to take one last look.
So, I am graduating in May. It’s a big deal, and I’m excited and all, but it also makes me look back at my time here. I have spent a TON of time in the library, and it’s weird to me that in a while, I won’t be here anymore. I won’t stand in line for ages at Starbucks, or scan through the archives, or read a magazine by the first floor windows, or study in a giant blue room. I’ll have moved on. And for all the long nights here studying, and all the times the printer has jammed or the study rooms are all being used by one guy on a laptop, I have had a lot of great memories here. So, explore the library, and make some great memories of your own, because trust me, it moves way faster than you think. Maybe you`ll find that secret passageway in the Archives that I know must be there.