The ‘academic slaughter-house’, the ‘sardine can’, the ‘book prison’. I know what you’re going to say: the one thing we don’t need right now is a freaking library exposé. We already know everything about the library, you students cry out – we slept here last night and are here now, bleary-eyed and ready to work this morning. Well, too bad folks, because the library is the one thing I can write about right now, seeing as I live here too. So I’ve compiled a list of things to discuss – because it’s about time.
- Let’s start out with one of the ‘newer’ additions: the area with the round tables in the foyer, or more accurately, the competitive arena for who can discuss their spring breaks (discussing previous ones or planning the next) the loudest. The round tables are also front-row seating for the constant stream of people strutting their stuff through the turnstiles, which leads me to my second point.
- St Andrews is famous for our fashion shows. However, one has gone undetected; and though it doesn’t have promotional Facebook videos or royal graduates, it still manages to gather some serious prestige. I am, of course, talking about the fashion show that is the library itself, seeing as somehow we have all collectively decided that this is the prime environment for a flex. Got a Gucci belt gathering dust in the closet? It only seems reasonable to bang it out for your cozy Sunday revision sesh. Your Yeezys not broken in? Best shuffle around the talking section in circles, like the rest of us, searching for new faces in a last-ditch attempt at procrastination. I’m not going to deny the thrill that accompanies a subtle library flex – we’re out here to harness whatever motivation we can.
- While on the topic of the talking section, let’s acknowledge the social vortex that is the ground floor. In my experience, especially come exam time, a surprising amount of social life plays out on this slightly gross grey carpeting. The round tables, as aesthetically pleasing as they are, are not conducive to work. Instead they’re used to catch up on the latest news. When we’re all crammed in here together, it’s hard not to be up in each other’s business.
- Now for the infrastructure. As grateful as we are for a roof over our heads, there are some details which need attention. To name a few: the fun little dance of bumped elbows and sideways shuffling between sink and hand-dryer, or the fact that on busy days the air quality starts to resemble that of an easyJet flight. Last but not least, everyone’s favorite– the height of the stairs which, when running up, makes you resemble Daniel Craig jogging through London in Skyfall.
- Perhaps worst of all, the same curse which seems to affect the rest of this town – the funky ability to see whoever you don’t want to see or, at least, those who it is ‘complicated’ to see. Finally, the unrivaled purity of a ‘library crush’ or ‘library buddy’; Unknown to them, but you’re essentially engaged as you’ve met eyes six times now over the white desk dividers.
Of course, there are some sliver linings, like the fact that Combini Co is now ready to take all of our money without the hassle of leaving the building, or the blankets that I have not yet worked up the courage to ask for. For now, anyway, all we can do is buckle in, get to work, and try not to fall down the stairs in the meantime.