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Library Memories

The following memories have been shared. Would you like to add your memories of the Tufts libraries to this page? Please use our submission form to share the ways in which the libraries have been special and important to you.

Bob Barry (1963)

In the early 1960s in what was then the Eaton Library, I often used for study between classes one of several rooms lining the east side of the top floor of the building, which still stands at the NE corner of the Tisch complex. My favorite room was the one in the NE corner, with a bird's eye view (looking east) of the Crane Theological School and the top landing of the Memorial Steps. Partly it was favorite because it housed a very modest collection of books on mathematics, my own major subject. More than that, it was favorite because its great quietness and retro architectural style offered me an unmatched location for uninterrupted study. The rooms no longer exist as they did, but a brief sketch helps describe what it was like there several decades -- and more -- ago. The rooms were about twenty feet square with bare wood floors and large double-hung windows on the outside (east)wall. The entry door in the middle of the west wall had a large window in its upper half, so that it was immediately apparent if the room was in use (which it usually was not). Inside were four long and bare wooden study/project tables, each with four high-backed rigid wooden chairs. Bookshelves lined the walls from floor to waist height, and the shelves were mostly but not completely full of bound books, many of them old, and their appearance suggested that captured knowledge of the ages was immediately at hand. The style of the furnishings and of other features of the room caused me to think when I entered and closed the door that I had just travelled a time warp into a room from Tufts of the 1920s or 1930s, where concentrated study was limited only by one's innate attention span. Very probably an hour or two of study within would not be interrupted in any way, not even by footsteps in the corridor outside. For me it was an ideal environment for study between classes.

Received 9/17/2010


Ellie Short (1988)

When I recall how very important the library at Tufts University was to me as a student, I remember the many afternoons spent downstairs in the “Wessell,” hidden behind the music stacks, absolute silence—no music playing in my ears—with five or six books piled on the desk to be read in preparation for an English or History paper.

It was “my place,” quiet and perfect for the daily two or three hours needed to complete my notes. I always headed to the same “cubby,” and each time I felt secure at this library space that served me well.

Now the Tisch Library has so many special places to study where one can pursue a wealth of information via video, DVD, and computers, but the librarians’ friendliness and help still remain available to all. It is indeed the anchor of the University.

Received 7/15/2010


Sue Martin (1963)

I wasn't a very frequent library user, I have to admit. That's ironic, since I became a librarian and spent the next 45 years ensconced in libraries. I did use the reserve room in Eaton Library, but my most significant use of library resources was in Cohen Auditorium, using the listening carrels to study for music appreciation courses, which I absolutely loved. Then, in my senior year, I was hired to staff the circulation desk at the Eaton Library. It was on Sunday evenings - when no one (well, hardly anyone) was using the library, so I had a chance to study while at the desk. And I was paid the incredible sum of 95 cents per hour! Following graduation, I began to work at the Harvard University Library, and later became a research library director. I was honored to serve two terms as a member of the Tufts Library Board of Overseers, during the exciting time when the Wessell Library was being expanded and then became part of what is now the Tisch Library. That Board of Overseers was a wonderful and dedicated group of alumni; it was a great pleasure to serve in that capacity.

Received 6/14/2010


Annah Jones (2006)

I'm waiting in the Tisch lobby for my engineering friend to arrive. I get butterflies in my stomach as I see him enter. We awkwardly smile and say our hello's. He immediately looks up at the binary code poem that hangs from the ceiling. I think he appreciates his language being represented in the library. We walk down the corridor towards the Tower cafe and enter the lively space. All around us people are coming and going. They are reading, studying, flipping pages, typing, eating, drinking caffeinated beverages. The aroma of freshly brewed hazelnut coffee fills the room. We sit down on one of the comfy couches and he notices another piece of art made out of coffee cups hanging from the ceiling. I tell him it's a phylactery, otherwise known as a conversation bubble. I tell him the cafe space is intended to encourage conversation, and it certainly does for us. We laugh and talk and smile :) We continue talking until it's time for me to go to work. We hug our goodbyes for the first time and I swoon :) Yes, this was a great library visit. -This is one of many library memories I have. PS I'm marrying this engineer Matt Toia E06 next year!

Received 6/10/2010


Jo-Ann Michalak, Director, Tisch Library

I don't recall any photocopiers, certainly no scanners or computers in the Reserve Room when I was in college. The Reserve Room was large and bare with stiffling heat, clanging steam pipes and long wooden tables. The only sounds were of chairs scraping the floor as students got up to return or check out reserves and occasionally a cough. The loan period was 2 hours and you had to read the book in the room. Quietly you would take notes from the reserve book. Usually there was only one copy of the book so sometimes the book was already checked out to someone else. The Reserve Room was definitely not user friendly or comfortable. The chairs had no padding and had straight wooden ladder backs. You learned to complete your reserve note taking quickly and get out of there!

Received 6/7/2010


Jo-Ann Michalak, Director, Tisch Library

I don't recall any photocopiers, certainly no scanners or computers in the Reserve Room when I was in college. The Reserve Room was large and bare with stiffling heat, clanging steam pipes and long wooden tables. The only sounds were of chairs scraping the floor as students got up to return or check out reserves and occasionally a cough. The loan period was 2 hours and you had to read the book in the room. Quietly you would take notes from the reserve book. Usually there was only one copy of the book so sometimes the book was already checked out to someone else. The Reserve Room was definitely not user friendly or comfortable. The chairs had no padding and had straight wooden ladder backs. You learned to complete your reserve note taking quickly and get out of there!

Received 6/7/2010


Rick Wetzler (1973)

APOLLO VERSUS DIONYSUS AT THE MEDFORD-SOMERVILLE LINE 1) THE LATE-NIGHT STUDY ROOM, WESSELL LIBRARY TOP FLOOR Around 2AM, after six hours of grinding memorization for chemistry courses I disliked but was required to take, I'd be told the area was closing for the night. Forty years later, I still hear the distinct "kachunk" of the north door latch opening, and still feel the soaring sense of release that followed. That feeling of hard-won freedom was particularly heady on life-infusing balmy, spring nights, with the promising lights of Boston & Cambridge beckoning below. This was how I imagined solitary confinement inmates must feel upon sudden release into the outside world. 2) NOTES AND QUERIES Decades before the dawning of tweets, IMs, e-mails, and cell calls -even before answering machines proliferated, a "crush" of mine and I relied upon the journal, "Notes & Queries." At irregular intervals, each of us placed (or received) a handwritten note or query to (or from) the other, between pages 237 and 238 of volume 12 (1860?). We figured the probability of anyone else discovering the dusty old tome, let alone our secret missives, was slim at best. (In fact, I'd only discovered Notes & Queries via random stack walk {RSW}. RSWs were a wonderful study-break diversion, conducted with eyes closed and index finger gently clicking past vertical bindings. After completing a random number of steps, the walker halts, opening their eyes to discover whatever the biblio-gods had filed. Ironically, a sophomore year RSW led me to a spectacularly relevant reference for a biology term paper I was in the process of writing.) 3) OUTDOOR CONCERTS ON LIBRARY HILL The springtimes of 1970-1973 sprouted abundant concerts, the sounds of which permeated deep into Wessell's stacks, luring the most steadfast scholars out to the Hill's welcoming lawn. After long, frozen New England winters, Tuftonians seemed to visibly thaw in the warmth and rock bands of April. In particular, the Poco concert (1970?) marked a heyday of hippy-tude. Much flowed copiously: long hair, jug wine, canibus plumes, anti-war solidarity, music and, at the Hill's base, mud. Over an hour after the concert ended and band dispersed, scores of us continued to dance and sing, barefoot in the ooze of that carefree Saturday. (Back then, Library Hill proffered endless supplies of this mud, as well as guitars, sunning people and packs of enthusiastic dogs.) That very afternoon, friends of my parents drove their debutante daughter to campus to decide between her top college acceptances-Smith (which they'd just visited quite happily) and Tufts. Upon our suddenly recognizing each other, I'm not sure whose shock was greater. In a thunderbolt of epiphany, I realized they were: a) precisely on time for a long-standing library meeting with me, which I'd completely forgotten, b) each dressed impeccably (the daughter sporting a matching white suit, gloves and purse ensemble), and c) thoroughly aghast at the site of me and the earthy throng. Like most Tufts male celebrants, I sported neither shirt nor shoes, just jeans and plenty of mud. Sagely, I also realized that: d) it would probably be unwise to welcome them with the prevailing form of campus hello back then-- a warm

Received May 22, 2010

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