I returned to UCLA‘s University Research Library recently to finish my research on A Poppy in Remembrance.
(Back in the dark ages when I was a student, we called it the URL; it’s now the Young University Research Library YURL after former chancellor Charles Young).
The years have disappeared in an alarming way, but as I stood on the steps and peered in the glass doors, it might have been yesterday.
I spent nearly every day of my three years at UCLA in that library.
I had a heavy schedule and my living arrangements were always at least a mile away. Between taking classes, marching in the band and working at the UCLA Daily Bruin, once I got to campus I stayed there.
It worked well for me.
After dinner when I lived in the dorms, the guys two doors down went to the library every night after dinner to study and they took me with them.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you spend three quiet hours in a research library every night! Click to Tweet
That may have been what got me through school in three years! 🙂
Certainly, there were plenty of other distractions on campus.
(UCLA’s basketball team went to the NCAA championships several times during my tenure. My roommate told the story of being in the research library during the semi-finals–“because I had to study, even though I knew the center”–and getting up for a drink. As she rounded the stacks, she saw a rabbit ear antenna sticking out from a study carrel.
This was in the days before smart phones.
She tiptoed into a group of silent students watching the game over an unsuspecting viewer’s shoulder. “It was funny. A great play would occur and we’d throw our arms up in the air like mimes!”
In this particular game, the star player on the other side chased a ball out of bounds. When the official threw back his arm and whistled, he caught the player under the chin and knocked him five feet backwards onto his rump.
The “silent” students all shouted and clapped, startling the TV owner who hadn’t realized he’d drawn a crowd, and causing everyone else in the library to shout, “Shhhhh!”
But I digress.)
The research library looms large in my college memories–and I loved it. Click to Tweet
Today at the Young University Research Library
But two weeks ago I returned, looking for a specific book.
I had its information on my smart phone and walked up to the front desk. I handed the student librarian my phone, she smiled, drew me a map and sent me to the fifth floor–which was completely empty on a July Saturday morning.
I was eighteen again and I loved everything about the experience!
The study carrel’s shelf was the perfect height to take photos with the Ipad.
I’ve written before about the ease of using an Ipad for research–I just had to find what I wanted and take the photos–I can read the information later.
I took 130 photos of some ten volumes.
A research library is designed to provide many different sources of information. While an afternoon at Sonoma State‘s library had resulted in a handful of resources, UCLA had three entire stacks full of books and periodicals in multiple languages covering a wide range of years.
UCLA’s research library was a treasure trove of information! Click to Tweet
After finding specific information about the how, I decided reporter memoirs would be helpful.
But where was the card catalog?
I knew better than to search for the old physical card catalog. I haven’t used one in a library since 1988. Click to Tweet
So, I hunted for a computer terminal. But I couldn’t find one anywhere at the research library, thus having to resort to my smart phone.
Odd, don’t you think?
I finally found it on my way out.
Those Ipads really get around!
My day at the research library was highly successful, so much so that the next time I get a big project that requires a lot of research, I’m just going to spend a week in UCLA’s library.
Amazing how much younger and resourceful you feel when you return to your college roots! Click to Tweet