Until we meet again, Alcuin Library


Next Monday, Alcuin Library at St. John’s University closes until January.  It will be called the Alcuin Library Learning Commons when it reopens, and between now and then it will undergo extensive renovations.

I stopped by Alcuin this morning to take one last look around the building (and, to see if there are any books in HC section that I might want before the books go into storage.) I even took a moment to add a little something to the Alcuin Graffiti Project.

I noticed one bit of irony on the wall as I walked around (click on the picture to enlarge):


I mentioned to a librarian that this is how many outside the academy think of what we do. She pointed out that BS is actually the Library of Congress listing for biblical studies. Perhaps a little joke from Thomas Jefferson?

Alcuin is a classic, Brutalist building, designed by Marcel Breuer.  It’s not my style of architecture (especially since the monks at St. John’s could have chosen Eero Saarinen!)  But it worked well when libraries were places to store books, to study quietly, and to work alone.

That’s not how things work today. We access materials in print and digitally; sometimes it’s best to be quiet but other times we need some music and chatter; and, more and more, we work together on projects. Alcuin needs to be a place everyone wants to go to.

I’m excited to see how it all turns out.

Update, October 11, 2016: For more on Breuer, here is a link to Artsy’s Marchel Breuer page.