University of Oregon

Campus THEN and NOW Series - Part 11: Lib

Caitlin H.

November 6, 2009 - 3:27 PM

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I'm the kind of kid on campus that actually refers to buildings as though they are lasting friends. Yes, I know, slightly weird and yet endearing. Lib is one of my favorites. She's a gorgeous structure. My apologies that these pictures don't capture Lib in the most serene light, but I'm trying to keep it real. I took these pictures on my walk over this morning, and in case you weren't aware, it occasionally rains in Oregon.


Lib is my off-the-wall abbreviation for the Knight Library, which is our main library on campus. We have spent some quality time together. To be entirely honest, there was a phase I went through where I was determined not to so much as touch the exterior of the building and certainly not set foot inside. There was no logic behind it - I was getting straight A's at the time, realized I had never been in the library and thought it would be fun to one day say, "I never even went in the library." The things we do as sophomores... Well anyway, long story short, a class or two into my business minor and I had a group project that required meeting outside of lectures. We met in the library and that was the end of that. I have been going back ever since.


Our Knight Library is a wonderful resource. It's the largest library in the state of Oregon (by volumes) and the second largest in the northwest. Apparently if you stacked up all the volumes back to back they would reach from Eugene to Corvallis and beyond. The library participates in the Summit program, allowing students access to the collections of 32 northwest colleges and universities, and also offers an indescribable wealth of knowledge via online tools and databases.


An interesting bit of history about the library, the original construction of the building in 1935-1937 was allocated no state funding. The head librarian Matthew Douglass, with support from Senator Fred Steiwer attained funding after the Great Depression from President FDR's Public Works Administration project. The cost was paid through the PWA and support from UO alumni. The fountain in front of the library was once lined with copper until it was scrapped for war material.


My mission in the library today was some simple study time. While I've come to really appreciate my place on the second floor in front of the floor to ceiling windows, there are still some things in the library that I have yet to understand. For example, when you ascend the stairs there are lights along the steps. Lights by themselves sound like a great idea. But then you look closer, and realize there are faces on them? Slightly odd. Actually, kind of freaks me out. But I found one that I can make my peace with, since it has fictional characters on it including the Cat in the Hat. The first floor of the library is devoted to reference materials, and has stand-out ‘featured reference books' for special viewing. Maybe I'm the abnormal one, but I walked by today and just couldn't imagine being all that interested in the 2009 Almanac on Political Policy something-or-other. Interesting, but featured reference? I'm a skeptic.


Since it was Friday I can't say that I found the library all that crowded. I was able to review some of my lecture materials and work on my "Statement of Purpose" for my grad school applications. I'd consider that a productive morning. Generally I find I don't need to go to the library to study, but it is a nice change in scenery once in a while. Most students I talk to find the study place that works for them, and it is different for everyone. Some use the library, some the student union, others in their home or residence hall room. My advice to students is to try things out and you'll find the place that works best for you. For me that has meant exercising my freedom to use a variety of locations rather than getting bored in one place. It will be nice to have some homework finished up so I can enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm planning on going to my friend Alex's house tonight to watch the Duck game with her family tomorrow. I hope you can tune into the game. GO DUCKS!


Caitlin studing in the library


Book selves in the Knight Library


Stair well lights





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