Where Have the Books Gone?

May 24, 2021

Virtual libraries just aren’t the same in the middle of a pandemic. This is how it feels to be deprived of a library when that is your go-to study space.  

by Mariah Rossi, Alumni Scholarship Recipient and MA student in the Department of Economics and Business

The room is silent, so silent you feel guilty for inconveniencing anyone by taking too loud of a breath. People are hunched over, immersed in great ideas of the mind, while I am frantically scribbling notes, and my hand has begun to cramp up. This is academia, this is learning, this is self-improvement, this is the library. A setting that exponentially increased my productivity. There is just something about being surrounded by knowledge and accomplishments bound in books and students striving for the same recognition that really gets my “gears turning.” The number one advice I got when I went to school was to find your studying place, and the library was mine.  

“How am I doing without library access?” you ask. Admittedly, not great. I am in a 15x15 room almost 24/7 and my bed is the ultimate seductress. “Come here” she whispers, “you can be productive here.” We both know that is a lie, but into her comfort I climb. Paralyzed with stress about all I am not getting done, but comfortable as she whispers “it is safe here” while deadlines flash in the back of my head. I miss the culture of the library and need to set some serious boundaries with my bed.  

It is not just about losing access to resources. Yes, yes, I know there are online databases and if you need to you can order a book pickup from the library. You can get on a tram ride, spend all of 5 minutes in the school and peek into what once was. The desk I would sit at, the old Mariah, the academic Mariah, now you are the comfy Mariah. Perhaps equally as determined, just half as productive.  

In sum, I miss the library a lot. I have been slowly adapting, but there have been many growing pains. It is not just about the books; it is about the environment that the library promotes. It is a symbol of knowledge, discovery, and growth and having that being taken away and substituted with my bedroom and online databases is… unfulfilling.  

I know this too shall pass, but I am eagerly anticipating the doors to reopen, the desks to be filled, and the ease of being in “my place” to once again come over me. Until we meet again, my dear library, until we meet again.