Heart and Soul

By Kate I.

When I landed on the USC campus as a freshman in the fall of 1996, the only thing I knew I needed to do for sure was find a work-study job. For fear of waiting too long and losing out, I took the very first job I was offered — a $5.25 an hour job at a campus library. USC has a multitude of libraries, and that fall was the year a brand new library opened its doors…it was beautiful, bright, beckoning, a center of social activity, open 24 hours, bays of gleaming computers, print stations, fully staffed on site technical support, and friendly, cheerful librarians to help you maneuver the clearly labeled areas of the large building. Leavy Library.

Alas, my job was not at Leavy, it was in the much older, marble entombed, silent and still Doheny Library. With narrow stacks, a terrifying cage where the dissertations were kept, and a “periodicals” section with the most amazing ceiling, Doheny was one of the older buildings on campus and the opposite of a social space, even with the Cinema Library in the basement that allowed students to watch movies on Beta, VHS and laser-disc to their hearts’ content. The lighting was dim, the stacks were dusty, and getting lost was a nightly occurrence. There was no social hour, it was a haven for grad students and for anyone looking to disappear into their work for a little while.

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Libraries Provide Educational (and Creative) Resources for All

By Farah F. 

I was listening to an interview on NPR with Regina Spektor one summer, where she stated that libraries are sort of a level playing field for everyone. Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn, to enjoy books and film, music, and research. Libraries help keep our communities educated, and allow these resources to ALL.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a decent internet connection. Our house was on 5 acres of land. But we were required to use the internet for our projects in school. Needless to say, the library helped me with this. Even in college, I would look up my grades, pay my tuition, and more, at the library if I was back home for break.

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Finding a New Job

By Aaron C. 

I was in my 2nd year at GMI / EMI which is a school that had a calendar of 3 month CO-OP engagement, 3 months of schooling, 3 months CO-OP, and 3 months of schooling as a 5 year program. My CO-OP sponsor was in California and my family was in Michigan. I tried to lobby for a new CO-OP sponsor with the school but was told that in order to change sponsors I would need to find my own. I walked out of that office and straight to the library.
During the library introduction at the beginning of the semester I remembered them showing us the various company registries and how you could find any company in them. I spent hours pouring over the listings and creating a mailing list of the companies that worked in automation which is not only what I wanted to do but it applied to my degree program.

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A Second Home

By Courtney C. 

Growing up, I spent a good chunk of my summers at our public library since it was impossible to be bored there. My summer ritual was going to the library at least once a week and taking out a bag full of books to occupy my time until I could return them again. It was comforting to have a place to call my second home.

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19th Century Nitty-Gritty: Out of Savagery into Civilization

By Melissa Rayner

Native American rights have been in the news quite a bit lately, especially as they relate to the Redskins controversy. That got me thinking:  How were things back in our favorite century?

And what I found broke my heart, much in the same way reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison breaks my heart every single time (yes, normally, these blog posts are kind of hilarious, and I promise to return to hilarity next week).

My search turned up an autobiography by Joseph K. Griffis (formerly Tahan), Out of Savagery into Civilization, in which he recounts–and even dumbs down–his many adventures as a wild man of the plains and how he eventually found his place among learned, civilized society. Here, the introduction lays out his many experiences:

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More Than Shelves!

By Esther B. 

My college library, the Iwasaki Library at Emerson College, was invaluable both on the physical and digital planes.

Not only was it a place with shelves of books, it was a place to come to study. Yes, you can have quiet study rooms for students. However, they’re much more valuable when you can just reach up and grab a new source. Also, while hunting for one book, or magazine, or article, even just glimpsing the titles of the texts I was passing made me want to stop and grab one and open it–and, when I had more than five minutes, I did.

The library was where we came to do group projects, a place to congregate among the information we needed to complete the assignment. Just being in an atmosphere obviously devoted to thought made us more focused, and maybe even more innovative in our ideas.

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