By Jennifer Johnson
Some could argue that a library hosts some of the world’s finest organizational methods, where one can find books or information on almost any topic imaginable, all inside the hallowed halls that are erected on campuses everywhere.
The building was assembled in 1971, and is arguably one of the most outdated buildings on the Worcester State campus, yet somehow manages to be one of the centers of campus life.
Libraries are typically rather distinguishable, grand buildings customarily referred to by the names of the donors whose beneficence enabled their construction – by students who most likely couldn’t even tell you why that person is a fixture at the school in the first place. All it is to them is another building they pass through daily, one that just houses books and sometimes has that musty smell that you’re never sure if you like or not.
Like most campuses, Worcester State University has a library, but it’s not as conventional as most.
First off, the building’s exterior is a multi-gon of some sort — how many angles I don’t think anyone could tell you.
Its art-deco 70s style is hardly the romanticized Hogwarts-esque type. It’s better known as the heart of campus, a place to eat and hang out – a title most libraries cannot claim. Like most traditional libraries, it has one or two nicknames – some favorable, some not.
Its nontraditional exterior matches the also puzzling and confusing interior, one that no student (and most professors) can even pretend to explain.
You emerge from one of two main entrances, a somewhat “grand” one with double sliding doors that deposit you in front of a help desk, café, and, just beyond that, what appears to be a study area with some books and classrooms wrapping around the outer part of the main level.
Where are the other levels? How do you get to them? The building, an unintentional maze, has all sorts of wacky, charming, and inconvenient ways to get around.
Hidden by the main entrance, one can reach the lower level or depths. This basement instills fear not only for its lack of windows or light, but because where do all the hallways go? How do I get back upstairs? How does anyone ever know where to go?!
These are the questions asked when you first step into the building and read that you need to go to 164C, and think “I’ll ask a nice friendly upperclassman, they’re sure to know where it is!”
Well, don’t be surprised if you end up in Criminology instead of Intro to Mass Communications because they sent you to 164 rather than 164C and you, a nervous freshman, sat through the entire class too scared to admit you were in the wrong place and also terrified that the teacher informed you that next time you met, there would be a quiz!
The basement has an even lower level, if you can believe it. The mail center is reached by way of a long sloping ramp that passes offices, a TV studio, and a long dim hallway with movie posters that might have been relevant in 2005 (the year they were probably hung).
Moving back upstairs, you can walk halfway around the building to find another staircase so winding it will make you dizzy and so narrow it will let you run smack into someone if you don’t tread carefully. This deposits you on the third level in front of a computer lab and technology center.
But if technology and computers aren’t your thing, you can find the rest of the books offered wrapping around the center of the building, just in front of more offices and some very oddly shaped classrooms on display by way of glass, inviting curious students to peer in and catch a glimpse of a class in-session (or just casually walk by and distract the entire class without even trying).
Where are the bathrooms? In hiding…meaning good luck if you’re in a hurry, especially in the basement.
Despite the oddities, it can be argued that the library is one of Worcester State’s many treasures. Students and faculty alike marvel at the fact that once you go in the basement you are instantly transported back to the times of when the building was erected and cell service wasn’t a problem, meaning: don’t expect to receive that text from your friends about lunch plans while in the Criminal Justice office.