The library was not only a place I had to go, it was a refuge. Some people study in the coffee shop, but the library is the place if you don't want to be tempted by roommates talking. In the 1950s, I smoked. As you entered the library, a tiny wood-paneled alcove was the "smoking area." A banquette ran around three sides. In smoky intimate obscurity you could chat and relax.

Directly in view of the entry was the circulation desk. Long tables with lamps on either side of an aisle. Tall arched windows let in natural light; you could look up from your books to study the dust motes suspended in the air. That was the north wing; on the south was a card catalog and periodical shelving with more tables and chairs. I chose the quiet north side. I got lost in the romantic potentiality of adjacent fields of knowledge in the subject catalog. I sank to the floor between shelves on the lower level. Hours passed. Exotic André Gide and Baudelaire's suggestive "Les Fleurs du Mal" drew me away from my assignment of French verbs.

I miss the old card catalogs, such a mountain of work accumulated so that all of us might have access to learning. Even the tiny handwritten notes. . . . Consider also that the formatting of knowledge through machines will affect how we think. No one should forget we need librarians to sift, analyze, organize, and make accessible all that human beings have put together over time.

Harriett McWethy Straus '54


In my junior year my best friend had his thesis desk in the basement, complete with a bowl of chocolates and a bottle of scotch hidden behind some of his books (both were essential at different times).

My senior year I had a wonderful desk on the second floor right by the window that looks into the original part of the library. During that entire year, I was only caught once after the lights went out, but came upon my desk partner more times than I can count with his six-foot frame sprawled asleep softly snoring under the desk. I have very fond memories of the gargoyles, and hope that I can convince someone of the necessity of gargoyles during a future library remodel. The library played a central role during my life at Reed, and had a much bigger impact than I ever imagined, as I am now dedicated to being an academic librarian and hope to find myself at a small liberal arts college in the future.

Molly M. Moss '95






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