Though we have all been to the Hugh Morris Library at some point by now, the building holds a different meaning for all of its attendees. For some people it is the only place they can get work done; for others it’s the ultimate destination for group projects; some people go there as a social event; and still others use it as a way to escape the noise of an active college community. For a while, I had no idea where I fit in among these classifications of library-goers. It started out as a necessary destination whenever I needed to print something before I invested in a printer of my own. Then, after my first semester of freshman year when my laptop somehow got blacklisted from the UD internet for reasons unknown to this day, I again was forced to the library to either rent a laptop or spend time there on their desktops, knowing that some day I’d again have a functional laptop and could have more control over my study location.
It was not for a while that I began attending the library out of choice instead of necessity. I would occasionally go to the reading room between classes, or wander around the third floor until I found a rare empty seat, afraid to cough or breathe too loudly and disrupt the population already there. Even then, I felt a little lost, not having a spot of my own, a routine location I could count on. I still didn’t fit into any of my pre-determined library stereotypes, but I kept trying.
The first time I stayed until the library closed at 2 am was a big turning point in my library saga. I was on the second floor with friends, jumping every time the intercom calmly screamed an update on the time. The countdown got very old once I accepted the fact that I was not going to be leaving that night by choice. When it was finally time, we very much considered finding a lone row among the countless bookshelves to hide out; we were sure we could do so without being found. The sleep-deprived and caffeine-driven walk home was definitely one to remember. Living on East Campus, it was never that long, though it felt like miles. From that point on, I considered myself a true member of the library community.
That being said, I still do not classify myself with a certain group of library-users. I stopped trying. Yesterday I was there three times. In the morning I was the first one there to cram for a test I had later that day, and I made a bee-line for my morning spot: the quiet couches tucked way into the back of the reference room where I had previously stayed up until 5 am the night before my 8 am organic chemistry final; my roommate and I had needed calzones delivered to us around 1 am that night, which they brought all the way into the library entrance for us. The second time I was there yesterday, the place had completely transformed from a quiet study haven to a bustling hub of people printing, tutoring, and constantly flowing in and out as I met my group to work on a group project in a separate study room. And that night, I was again in a whole new community of studiers, this time in the silent reading room where I was able to slowly push through countless organic chemistry mechanisms, formulating the lists I’ll need to memorize before this semester’s final—you’ll know where to find me the night before.
Even though I don’t have just one spot in the library or one purpose for attending, I have found recently that it is an extremely convenient multi-purpose tool that I had been taking advantage of. One more story—when I first arrived at the library yesterday, a lady was at the door on the inside; I assumed she was cleaning the glass. Naturally, I went to open the door but found it locked. Confused, I first looked to my watch, which said 7:59 am before realizing the woman was unlocking the door as I stood there like an idiot, surrounded by a group of people clearly waiting for her to do just that. My pride was a little wounded, but my confidence quickly surged as I (one minute later) walked through the doors and into what finally felt like somewhere I belong.
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