Six impossible things before breakfast.

A library science student's perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Everything's better with peanut butter

Peanut butter M&M cookies!

But what do cookies have to do with libraries?

Well, I'll tell you. I've always loved spending time in libraries and I was incredibly excited to attend a college that had more than a dozen libraries across campus. The undergraduate library wasn't the oldest or the most ornate and didn't even have the most books, but what it did have was comfy chairs (really old, faded orange, rather odd looking, but comfy chairs) and lots of computers (these were the days before everyone carried their laptop around with them everywhere) and extended hours. During the weekdays the library was open 24 hours a day, which to me was almost unimaginably cool. So when I found out that you could also eat in the library, I figured I could pretty much move in for good.

Libraries traditionally have a reputation for being very strict about things like food and noise and what you are supposed to be doing while you are there. And of course there are reasons for the rules: protecting the materials and preserving an atmosphere that everyone can use, but taking away those policies can also be incredibly welcoming and liberating to people--even those who already enjoyed and appreciated the library for what it was.

For me, telling me that I could bring my goldfish or my coffee, a cookie or two for a late night snack, or even my whole dinner into the library had the effect of making me feel instantly at home and ensuring that I came back (often), brought my friends, and eventually even got a part time job there. (It also meant that during exams you could order take out Chinese food to the library, and really, does it get any cooler than that?)

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