Sometimes I let myself write these blog entries in coffee shops. Sometimes I even listen to music while I write them. Today, however, is not one of those days. Nope, today I am writing from a den of Very Quiet at the top floor of Douglas Library (where the engineering and science students lurk), in the room sometimes described as feeling like it’s straight out of a Harry Potter book (though technically, it’s called the Douglas Library Reading Room).
Though I have been known to work at Stauffer Library – a zone of dedicated quiet – it’s got nothing on this pristine oasis of academic focus. I tried to work at Stauffer yesterday, but was disappointed to find the Fireplace Reading Room overwhelmed by Timbit-eating, coffee-slurping undergrads all plugged in to ipods (it’s funny how we get possessive about spaces, eh? In the summer, I would sometimes be the only person in that room – now I feel resentful when it’s used by others).
So I’m informally on the hunt for a new place to lay down my books. I was with a friend this morning who had to pick something up at this library – so I decided to follow him in and take a look around. After helping him located his book in one of the subterranean rooms, he guided me up here to the reading room.
I felt at home almost immediately.
To start with, this is a classically beautiful space: the room has high ceilings with gothic arches. It has large, stained-glass windows at either end. The desks and tables are dark wood (each one festooned with a lamp), and there are plenty of them… room for dozens and dozens of students to feed their minds in traditional style. In fact, if you were to paint a picture of what a traditional library reading room should look like… well, this might be it (though I suppose traditionally, the floor would be wooden and creaky and we’d be forced to look up every time someone came in or out – thankfully, this room has carpeting).
Maybe fetishizing workspace is just a way to avoid actually getting down to work, but I’ve always found it to be a hugely important factor. If I don’t feel comfortable somewhere, I can’t get stuff done: it’s pretty much that simple.
That’s why I’m thrilled by my discovery of this workspace (it only took me a year to find it!). It’s bright, quiet and I’m hoping the room’s academic aura provides me with just the level of concentration for me to do what I need to do (and let me tell you… there’s a lot to do!).
Let me know if you’ve found your own perfect work-spot on-campus…
and happy weekending!