Confessions of a Library Junkie

Hello, my name is Luke, and I’m a library junkie.  I’ve stalked libraries after dark, gazing in upon their night-still interiors, gone from reading room to reading room hunting for my next hit:  to quote Allen Ginsburg, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by [libraries] starving hysterical naked dragging themselves … at dawn looking for an angry fix…” and this is one of many reasons why I’m at McGill.

McGill has photos of seventeen branch libraries listed on its Library and Collections Page

I have a story about almost every one (even the ones I haven’t been to), drawn from personal experience.

Humanities: I admit to an almost compulsive use of the main library.  I’m on friendly terms with (or at least instantly recognized by) most of the staff.  I go in the MacLennan (Humanities and Social Sciences, or HSS) library like I’m on a shopping spree, jaunting down aisles, impulsively seizing books that grab my fancy.  They should have shopping carts for more convenient browsing for people like me.  Best of all, there’s a self-checkout machine, so you don’t have to feel guilty for over-indulging, like, say, you’re checking out Being and Nothingness so you can browse it later (for fun!) in between doing your homework and cooking dinner (give me the strength to resist this temptation…)

Schulich: This is engineering, not music!  I go to Schulich to get away from Burnside, and to pick up poststructuralist analyses of technology published by MIT press (one of my fetish-presses), which I then read all in one sitting (I promise I’ll pace myself next time…)

Howard Ross: Google is shooting for world domination.  Don’t let their nice guy image fool you.  (I admit I do Google.  Their algorithms are just so sweet!)

Life Sciences: This library is responsible for implanting in my mind that both biological and cultural ‘DNA’ are real!  (It took me a whole year to get over it.  Thank god that year is behind me…)

Gelber Law: Don’t sit in the law students’ seats.  You’ll get in (polite) hell.  Other than that, on the second and fourth floors or during summer the view out the back is wonderful: old buildings and the mountain uninterrupted all the way up to the top.

Marvin Duchow Music: I sneak in here and borrow CDs, sometimes for the weekend, or just luxuriate in the atmosphere of one of the quietest libraries on campus, with views of downtown.

Education: (Help me dear sponsor, this is one of the tougher aspects of library addiction: admitting how deep it goes.  I think I actually woke up from a deep dream here once, or this library was in my dream, one).

Blackader: That fateful day when I found Meta/data by Mark Amerika and Information Arts by Stephen Wilson after narrowly avoiding their purchase at the Musee d’art contemporain…makes me realize you, Blackader, are an ENABLER, and in large part to blame for my addiction…just ask Dr. Phil!

Islamic: The one time I almost went in it was under construction and I couldn’t find the entrance.  This library, for me, has a mysterious aura.

Hitchfield: One floor above my office, one of my most frequent haunts, in Burnside Hall, and some of the nicest/smartest librarians in the world.

Birks: Sound-proof keyboards…say no more…(and remember to take off your shoes)

Rosenthall: So that’s where all those guys with crazy hair I see on the elevator go…I wonder if any of them needs a sponsor…

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