Thursday, June 10, 2010

Navigating the Library, 101

Why are introductory courses so often assigned the number, 101? Perhaps because this is a palindrome, the same frontwards and backwards, as though to suggest ease of access and assimilation. Unfortunately, the concept of ease does not apply to the topic of navigating the Drew Library. It is not clear which is front of the building, and which the back. There are really two fronts, on the model of a two-headed mythological beast. The building is a composite of two structures, one from the 1930s (the Rose Library) and the other from 1980s (The Learning Center). The entrance to the older structure, which is now closed, is beautifully columned and stepped, and leads onto a room, now largely vacant, but which will one day become a stunningly gorgeous reading room. The entrance to the new stucture (the current entrance) is beautifully glassed, and leads to a lovely atrium with tables and chairs that invite meeting, eating, and talking. Note the stained glass window over the entrance.

For left-brained visitors (if you click this link, see question #7), there are maps. It is always harder to be right-brained in this world. For such, the easiest thing is to ask a staff member for help finding your way. Librarians and staff are typically hovering about the circulation desk or the reference desk, which you encounter on entering the building. If you tell staff where you want to be, they will often personally accompany you to your destination.

Theo students will enjoy knowing that most of the theological books are in one place: on "Level E," which is upstairs, and towards the north end of the floor. However, Bible and biblical criticism are a stairway above, on level F. (The narrow stairway in Rose Library is navigable and the old elevator next to it is faithful and tireless.) For the directionally attuned: head to the northwest corner of "Level E" for the newer books, which inhabit a room called "The Cornell Room," after the name of the first Drew theological library, and its donor, which and who are no more. Theological reference books are on level C, in the stacks along the west wall of the main floor. Bound journals are in movable shelves on level A (basement).

Complicating navigation of the building are the two classification systems in play: Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress. We no longer classify any books in the Dewey Decimal system. And all books so classified are in stacks along the north wall of Level E. All newly acquired books are classified in the Library of Congress system and shelved in the Cornell Room (northwest corner of Level E).

None of this addresses the third building that belongs to the library: the Methodist Library, across from the Learning Center. Note the Methodist Librarian's blog.

A tip for theo students who find themselves in the library with a few spare moments: browse the D.Min dissertations, filed by year in the Baldwin Room, on Level E in the northeast corner of the library. The topics are practical, directly relevant to ministry, and a tribute to the many connections between academic study and real-life pastoring.

No comments:

Post a Comment