University of San Francisco: Gleeson Library – 2/7/2013

I have to admit that I only trekked all the way out to the University of San Francisco (USF)’s  Gleeson Library today so that I could attend a talk about Digital Humanities.  That said, I did find a few minutes to explore and soon discovered that nestled out on the absolutely beautiful USF campus is a nice little academic library.

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Upon entering the library I walked through the Thatcher Gallery, located on the library’s first floor, which was displaying a beautiful installation of hand-cut paper art.  As I made my way upstairs and into the stacks I realized two things: 1. the library is warm (maybe too warm for effective studying but pleasantly warm for a visitor like myself) and 2. the library is quiet!  Each of the floors is designated for a certain noise level and maybe it was the time of day that I visited, but the students were taking that shit seriously.  While wandering through the ‘Silent’ floor I swear, I could have heard a pin drop.

2013-02-07 13.13.42The talk was located in the library’s rare books room, which seemed to, you know, have a lot of sweet rare books.  The room was also awesomely wood-panelled and contained some neat artifacts including a vintage printing press.  Sadly, I don’t have any photos since taking cell phone photos of rare books during someone’s talk is rude!  Nevertheless, let me assure you, it’s worth stopping into.

Finally, the library has a much toted atrium-style reading room (also on the first floor).  I have to admit that I somehow managed to skip this altogether, but I saw it from the outside and it does look lovely.

If you are interested in learning more or visiting* the Gleeson Library, check out their website at

*The library has gates at the entrances that require a student/staff card to open.  That said, after I explained my reason for visiting (the lecture) the lovely librarians let me in and even helped me to find my way.  If you want to visit the library, I suggest calling ahead to confirm and perhaps signing up for a tour.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library – 1/28/2013

After visiting the Suzzallo library, I made the mistake of heading across the University of Washington quad to the Odegaard undergraduate library.  I know that sounds harsh and in the library’s defense, they are in the middle of a big renovation project which looks totally awesome (I’ll hopefully be back with a full report once they’re finished).

Nevertheless I have to admit that my two take aways from the short time I spent at the library were: 1. The surprising similarity between the smell of the stairwell and the smell of my junior high school gym and 2. When did undergraduates start looking like they should be reading YA?

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The whole experience was very disorienting as I tried to hide my age by slinking behind waist-high shelves crammed with intro texts.

To learn more about Odegaard and their exciting remodel check out their website:

Suzzallo and Allen Libraries – 01/28/2013

2013-01-28 15.31.37The University of Washington students I know refer to Suzzallo as the main “graduate library” on the Seattle campus.  Where I went to undergrad we only hand one main library, so clearly the UW has us beat.  I’m not bitter, though, because the Suzzallo library is an awesome place to visit.

The building, constructed in the 1920’s, is a beautiful example of Gothic architectural style.  Inside you will, if you have time, find over 2 million print volumes, computer and open space, the several reading rooms, and a variety of special collections.  Given the size of the library and (to some degree) my own laziness, I wasn’t able to even scratch the surface of what they have to offer.

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I did make it to the Hogwarts-esque Suzzallo reading room and across the enclosed walkway to the Allen Library, which is newer than Suzzallo, but equally lovely.  While I was meandering in the library I definitely got a vibe (yes, I know, the whole idea of ‘vibes’ is totally moronic, but bear with me here) of intellectual curiosity and studiousness which made me downright nostalgic for academia.

If you hate the rain or simply don’t have a way of making it to the University of Washington, the library has a fun virtual tour as well as many photos and lots of information on their website: