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We Have a Chair Because We Care

About a year ago one of the library administrators was talking to a group of students about possible services the library could add. One of the students, we’ll call him Joe, said what he really liked about the library was the quiet. It turned out that Joe, who was a very successful student, was getting married, working a part time job, and trying to graduate. Joe also had five roommates in his apartment.

Joe liked the library because it was a quiet place where he could sit and study. The library is often in the news for events such as lectures by scholars, exhibits featuring rare materials, and for adding new services such as databases and subscriptions to academic journals. All of those are good things that support the academy at BYU. But we haven’t forgotten that all of our modern technology does not replace one of the most basic functions of a library, providing a clean quiet place to sit and study. Over 100 years ago a few students at the Brigham Young Academy could study in “Room D.” Today our current building provides more than 100 times the seating capacity. Even so, we know that during finals week all the seats may be filled and we are on the lookout for new ways to accommodate more students.

While Joe has graduated and is working in a distant city, a new generation of students has taken his place and they have just as many roommates. To them we say, “Welcome.” We’re reminded of the motto on the wall of Nathanial Hawthorne’s tower study, “There is no joy but Calm!” (It is taken from Lord Tennyson’s poem Song of the Lotos-Eaters.) If you need a chair, just a place to sit where is it calm, we hope you will think of the library. Later, when you need more resources for a paper, advice on a specialized topic, or access to electronic resources you can’t afford to subscribe to, we’ll be ready to help with those things as well. Until then, please feel free to pull up a chair.