Friday, September 09, 2011

Bigger on the Inside

There are two sections to the library I work in: the old stacks and the new stacks. The old stacks are pretty old, and the new stacks are not getting any younger. Recently, there was a flurry of e-mails concerning renaming the stacks because from the perspective of an incoming first-year, "old" and "even older" aren't different enough. It was decided that their names would be changed to the "blue stacks" and the "yellow stacks." These, naturally, are the school colors.

Like all school colors, these are ugly colors. These are the colors of welcome banners, sports uniforms, and "signage," not the colors of interior design. When I heard they were going to be buying paint in these colors, I was downright alarmed.

When I started my first year of college, our library had just been entirely refinished. It looked like a cathedral to begin with, and when it was done, it looked like a cathedral crossed with a banquet hall crossed with a comfortable modern living room.

Photo by my father
Not only that, but it has secret passageways with circular staircases! This is a magnificent library that I was very lucky to spend many late nights translating Beowulf in. I am more than a little sad my current library does not look anything like this. It has some lovely features, some very nice sections, and a whole lot more books, but when you walk around in the old and new stacks, you do not particularly feel like you're in a "cathedral of learning" like Vassar's library was designed to be.

I was sitting at my desk regretting this when a co-worker came tearing into my cubicle. "You have to come see something," she said. "I can't tell you what it is. But you have to come see it RIGHT NOW."

I'm always ready to go see something, especially if it involves not doing real work, so I followed her past the horrible yellow paint in the new stacks, and into the old stacks, where they were painting the elevators blue. Knowing the outcome of the yellow, I assumed that the outcome of the blue was even worse -- so bad it was worth getting up from your desk to marvel at.

But that is not why she brought me there. She brought me there because the fresh paint on the elevator revealed its resemblance to something we had never noticed before.

Photo by co-worker; Pigeon of Anonymity by me
 Okay, so it's not an exact match. And we couldn't put the "pull to open" sign on the correct side for fear it would get smushed when the door opened. And if we'd had more time, we could have done a much better imitation, overall, but still! Our library may be mostly ugly and the blue and yellow paint may have been an aesthetically disastrous idea, BUT NOW WE HAVE A TARDIS. That makes everything better.


Maeve said...

The heating system in my current library has been known to make TARDIS-like noises. Perhaps, as with the Doctor and museums, the TARDIS has an affinity with libraries.

Pandora said...

So excited to know there is a local TARDIS I can access for my time/space travel needs. Just promise to let me know if the Doctor pops in for tea.