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The Books Room March 9, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Breaking the fourth wall, Durham, Law, University.

I obviously can’t speak for other people’s libraries, but just as a bit of background, the Durham law library is a large-ish, single room, two storeys with a balcony at the height of the first storey.  It looks out, on one side, over the river.  It’s dark brown and green and full of dimly bound volumes of books.  The floor, for some reason is heated – so don’t leave chocolate in your bag, yeah?  Ask me how I know.  It’s open to the public, the whole building is, so it closes at nine o’clock on a weekday.

At this point in the term, at coming up to six o’clock in the evening, it rather resembles a lock-in.  Most people have been here for several hours, and will probably be here til closing time, or thenabouts.  They’ve brought food.  They’ve brought their headphones and their water bottles and their notebooks and their cartons of Ribena.  I love this particular library more than the main university library because it’s, well, it’s what all libraries should be, in my opinion.  I’m a bit of a library purist.  You put the books back in order.  You don’t have music that anyone else can hear.  You probably wash your hands before you come in.  You don’t eat crisps.  And you most certainly don’t talk.  Oh no you don’t.  This is a quiet space.  The main library seems to be so much louder than this one.  So did Southampton’s Hartley library when I was there over the summer – you should be able to think straight in a library, in my opinion, without headphones or any necessity to drown out anything.  If I wanted to hear your conversation, I’d go to a coffee shop.

I know some people who definitely disagree with me on this one, who think the law library is oppressively quiet.  Maybe you should be able to have a quiet conversation if you want.  To which I say, no?!  I’m with the librarians on this one, go the hell outside, or at least into the stairwell.  I adore the quiet of typing, and pages turning, and fifty or so people concentrating.  This makes me happy.  Open plan offices?  Don’t talk to me about open plan offices.

Anyway what I was going to say is that I have a 4000 word essay entitled, ‘Recent developments in constitutional law and reform, perhaps most notably the implementation and enforcement of the Human Rights Act 1998, have confirmed the demise of the political constitution.  Discuss’ due this time next week.  So I’m not going to be about for a bit.  I’m going to be immersed in the awesome. You’ll probably hear about it at some point, at great length.  But until then, I’ll be right here, doing this.  For a week.

Have a good one, chaps.



1. annadegenhardt - March 9, 2010

you’re allowed FOOD in your library???

We get fined if we have even an average sized bottle of water…

And don’t even try to take ANYTHING non-paper/non-pens (That are for Notes Only Not Writing ON Books)into the UL. Although that particular magic world has its own coffee shop to make up for it. But you probably have to be decontaminated when returning to BookWorld…


2. Fiona - March 9, 2010

No, we’re absolutely not allowed food. There’s one scary librarian who enforces it (and once, bless her, confiscated two thirds of a very good cup of coffee from me at about 9.30 in the morning. I was not impressed) but otherwise, MEH, nobody seems to pay much attention to it. As long as you don’t get crumbs on the books, if you’re careful, you’re fine. I love my library. But I wish it also had a coffee shop. The main library has one. Mind you, we’re a stone’s chuck from the student union which [at the moment, although it’s haemorraging money and boo hiss they might get rid of it] has a very good cafe. Cheap caffeine ftw.

3. Dickie - March 9, 2010

lol if they tried to ban food and drink (specifically caffeine) from the Engineering library there’d be uproar…

4. Fiona - March 9, 2010

I think that’s their reasoning at ours, apart from The Scary Librarian, of course. Rules is rules, after all…

5. Flix - March 10, 2010

We have chomp and chat parts and silent study – don’t so much as bring a can of energy drink or a cup of coffee, even if you have been pulling an all-nighter – parts.

The talking bits are good for scientists because plagurism isn’t the same in our game and sometimes it helps to chew over concepts and questions with other people to get the picture. There’s less of that essay writing and background reading shiz…

I love the library.

6. Jenny - March 12, 2010

I have to admit at this point that I rarely go to the library. I work better at home, to be honest, somewhere communal. I am happy for people to be pottering around me, even talking to me, and I concentrate better like that than I do on my own. Weird, I know. And since I don’t have any friends on my course there’s rarely anyone I even recognise on my floor, and I don’t do study buddies or anything like that. I’m just better off at home. Right noise-level, tea on tap, perhaps a cat or two depending on which home I am referring to, if not, an H, who will do just as well (not that she reads this, but…). xxx

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