Full disclosure: UC Davis is my alma matter and as a student I was a frequent library visitor.
I rarely conducted research or studied in the library, though, instead I sought it out when I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or simply too damn hot (if you’ve spent any summer time in California’s Central Valley, you know what I’m talking about). For me, the library was a refuge and being surrounded by so many books was soothing.
So when I visited Shields Library recently, I was mildly surprised to find a great library full of intriguing research materials. I then began immediately cursing myself for not taking full advantage when I had the chance!
Though it began as a small collection geared toward farmers and agricultural scientists, the UC Davis library is now a full-fledged research library with over 3 million volumes covering a wider range of topics than any other library in the UC system.
The Peter J. Shields library building is the central library for UC Davis students and faculty and is located in the heart of campus. Originally constructed in 1940, the building has undergone numerous expansions and upgrades.
In addition to housing an extensive collection of scholarly monographs, the Shields library is home to the campus’ maps and government documents collection as well as a limited (but enjoyable!) collection of popular titles. It also houses the Blanchard Special Collections Reading Room, where visitors can access one of the country’s largest private collections of books on Western History or check out the avante garde poetry collection.
While much of the library is pretty nondescript, the entrance stairwell is pretty impressive and the center court yard is a lovely spot to in which to read. There is also some interesting/creepy sculpture scattered about (see above).
So if you find yourself on the UC Davis campus with some extra time on your hands, check out the Shields library collection and special collections. Maybe together we can make up for some of the knowledge I lost by not taking full advantage of my library’s resources as an undergrad…
For more information about visiting the Peter J. Shields Library, visit their website: http://www.lib.ucdavis.edu/ul/libcoll/shields.php