The Reed library was truly the focal point of my Reed life. I studied there between classes, and every weekday night until closing (often detouring to the student union coffee shop on my way back from the dorm). I enjoyed dorm life, but couldn't concentrate in my room. In my junior year I kept a portable typewriter in a corner of the basement stacks. It was my experience working in the Reed library my junior and senior years that finalized my decision to make librarianship my career.

Jean Webster McNutt '45


The two things that served, then and still, as the firmest indicators to my mind of Reed's values and dedication both center on the library: that it was considered an honor to have, as a senior, your own carrel in the stacks, and that the library was open (and used) until 2 a.m. seven day a week. The symbolic significance of the latter was brought home to me some years ago when I was in grad school and was told that the main library closed at 9 p.m on weekends! I did not believe it at first, but it was true, and the fact told me a lot, sadly, about the university's (and perhaps its students') priorities. Libraries and their collections of books have always felt to me like holy places, in the sense that they fill me with awe and joy and a feeling of connectedness.

The public library that I bicycled to through the long summers of childhood may have been the merest roadside chapel in retrospect, while others that I have been to and worked in since then-grand repositories of the history of human observation, thought, and imagination-are cathedrals. Reed's library is like a lovely old church in the center of a village, substantial but built with grace, sublime but meant for daily use, the heart and soul of the community.

Leslie Overstreet '71






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