As we enter upon the end of the semester, it seems only fitting that I write something about the space that has become my perpetual habitation. Huddled in a back corner, with the yellowing leaves of a sickly plant hanging over me, I franticly rifle papers and peer at books as I embark upon a final frenzy of action, here, in the library.
Preus Library is comprised of three floors and a (semi-mythical) closed stacks, located somewhere beneath the earth and housing outdated journals, etc. that don’t need to take up space in the main portion of the library. Much to my chagrin, it is doubtful that I will ever have the opportunity to visit this legendary site.
Nevertheless, to my delight this semester finally offered me the opportunity to enter the Rare Books Room. In this place are housed— as you may have guessed— the rarest books owned by Luther College, many of them ancient and intimidating leather-bound tomes. The reason for my visit, however, was not to pore over any of these imposing volumes, but to examine the unassuming Qualley Papyri, brought to Decorah from Egypt in 1925. Being able to check a visit to this room off of my bucket list was immensely satisfying.
What else does Preus hold? Well, the main floor houses the circulation desk, where one can check out not only books, but bicycles, laptops, headphones, camcorders, etc. Additionally, there is a technology help desk (to fix your laptop), a reference librarian (to help with your research), and a writing center (for those times when your paper could use some edits).
The lower level has a nifty curriculum section with an assortment of teaching materials (useful for education majors), and is home to SASC (Student Academic Support Center) where I work as a tutor in Latin, Logic, and Greek.
Up topside you’ll find the quiet zone, a perfect place for studying, which is home, as well, to the College Archives. Up here is where I live in my carrel, only departing for meals, classes, and sleep. Perhaps it sounds like a drag, but trust me, it’s not. I love the library. My corner is cozy and warm, colored by the subtle and soothing sound of air circulation (I imagine that it’s important to regulate the atmosphere on behalf of the books). The carpet is soft, and the lights are pervasive, but not overwhelming. All told, I have been in many libraries, both municipal and university, but none has ever felt as homey as this one. (Although, admittedly, the Centrale Bibliotheek Rotterdam is pretty awesome!).
One final note. If you ever happen to be hanging around in the stacks with some free time on your hands, you could always track down my favorite book in our collection. I’ve never read it or anything; it just makes me chuckle whenever I pay it a visit. The call number is: HD 593.A62 v.6.