the only thing wrong…Dublin-TCD, Fall 2009
Today I spent my first amount of quality time in the library and I can already tell that we are not going to get along. There are several qualities and characteristics that just don’t satisfy what I’m looking for in a relationship with a building I will be spending hours of my semester in. Maybe I’m hard to please, maybe I’m high maintenance, maybe I’m spoiled by my library at home – whichever it is, I feel it is my duty to warn potential Trinity students of what kind of treatment awaits them by Ussher, Berkley and Lecky.
I’ll go ahead and throw my shallow nature out there first. Ugly. Gray. Uninspiring. 1970s architecture. Did I mention ugly? Walking into the library, I get the feeling I’m heading into a subway station, surrounded by concrete slabs that might as well be covered in graffiti. Once inside the library, the design is much the same. Cold, almost prison-like and maybe even bomb shelter-esque. I’m not sure if it’s just part of the feeling 1970s architecture emits or if it was an actual strategy employed hoping that students would be more likely to stay focused in such a dreary place. I was quite productive. Uncomfortable, but productive.
Secondly this library is quite uptight. When we’re together there is a strict “zero fun” policy. No food, no drink, no talking. These rules are so strict that as leaving the library – heading out of the “no food” zone, I was instructed to put my unopened sandwich bag away (“Hello?! No food in the library – put that away!”) for the three steps I had to the outside world. It’s not just the employees of the library that are uptight but the students as well. Just today I was browsing for a book when I ran into a comrade and he asked me how things were going. Not half a second later I literally felt all eyes on us in a very effective silent attempt to get us to shut up. We weren’t even being loud, whispering of course. I cut my response to him short and ducked behind the safety of a shelf of books.
Speaking of books (and this is the one true legitimate problem with this library, I can adjust to the others), you are not allowed to check a majority of them out. That’s right. It’s less a lending facility and more a storage facility. This aspect of the relationship is terrible because it just forces you to spend more and more of your precious time in the dreadfully ugly and uptight space trying to read the one copy of the book assigned to your whole class. There are a few books available for “lending” as they call it but due to the nature of the courses here, with the suggested readings, you are one lucky duck if you get the yellow-stickered copy of the book.
It’s a strained relationship to say the least. I never thought I’d say I’d be glad to get back to the library at home but I can’t wait. Regardless, if my biggest complaint here throughout my entire two months abroad is about a trivial relationship I have with a building….I must say Dublin should be high on your list of destinations!
I promise a much happier post next week as I return from a holiday in the south of Ireland! Until then, Cheers!
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