The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lingering in the Library

         During my sojourn at the University of Tennessee, I seemed to primarily occupy myself with killing time while I figured out what I was going to do with my life.  I only knew that I wasn't interested in going into plastics and I sure didn't want to go to Viet Nam. 

          It was in the first years of the 1970s and during the reign of Richard Nixon that I lurked about the Knoxville campus of the University.  I was a shadow of a student who came to classes in the early morning and departed sometimes as late as 9 or 10 at night. 

         For most of those years I did not own a vehicle and commuted via bus the fifteen miles from Maryville, where I was still living with my parents.  The bus trip took about an hour departing from Midland Shopping Center and the bus returning to Maryville made hourly stops at the University.  This meant that sometimes I had to find something to do to fill that space of time until the next bus came.

         Also, there were those days when there were long periods of time between classes.  Whenever I had those blocks of open time, I might do any number of things.   One of the most common ways that I would fill up time voids would be to linger in the Undergraduate Library.

         As I was growing up I rarely went to the library--at least not that I can remember.  I suppose during elementary school our teacher would take us to the school library to pick out books for our book reports, but I don't really recall those visits.  When I was older, my mother or father would just let me buy books when I needed to make book reports.  I began amassing my own home library.  My memberships in the Doubleday Book Clubs also added greatly to my private library.

           However, with my free time at the university, I began exploring the large library which was across the street from the Humanities building, where I had most of my classes.  I was rarely looking for anything pertaining to classes because here again I was buying most of the books I needed for them. No, I was just looking.  I can spend hours in a bookstore.  I can spend even more time in a sizeable library.

          It has to with the range of available materials. The Undergraduate Library had books, magazines, and recordings that were contemporary and those that went back many years.  There was always a randomness to my library exploratory excursions,  not unlike the way I enrolled in classes.  For me it was often a matter of "Oh, that sounds interesting--I think I'll take that class", or "Oh, I think I'll look at this book (or whatever) just because I feel like it and I've got time to kill".

          My visits to the library were like an explorer in an undiscovered land.  In wonderment I would come upon things that were new to me and I would want to keep searching to see what else I could find.  It was all random, sure, but my mind works in pretty random ways sometimes.  I never graduated from the University of Tennessee-- I came mighty close, but no cigar. 

         Those random library excursions stand out in my memory just like my meanderings on mountain trails in the Great Smokies.  One experience was not necessarily better than the other, but the outcomes of both had a similarity in the process of experiential absorption of my surroundings.  There was a beauty to both places that inspired reverence and awe. The amazing scope of the vastness of God's creation cannot be duplicated by humans, but the essence of that creation is captured within the walls of libraries.

Here are some fine blogs where books hold a special place:

Books, Writing, and More, Oh My! -- Swimmer would feel right at home in a library.  She offers reviews, tips on writing, and, of course, more.

C C Chronicles -- Let's see-- the header on her blog has a picture of a huge library.  I think that says plenty.

Keeping Up With Klapper --Carmen Klapper loves books, but now and then she gets a bit Krazy too.

Mary McDonald Has the Write Stuff -- Mary doesn't always write about books, but she likes them.
Nashpredsfan's Blog -- She's from Nashville and posts book reviews and whatever else is on her mind.

Writing:  A Soul's Way of Breathing --Naomi's a writer who writes a lot about, you guessed it, writing.

Peruse these fine blogs and give them your rave review of how they are doing in Blogging From A to Z.


  1. Some of my happiest memories have concerned libraries too, and most of my happiest times were when I was looking for something completely unrelated to my current work, and finding something different from the random thing I was looking for. Long live libraries!

    And I will be sure to check out those other blogs too. Every day I come to your site, I end up following a couple of blogs more- I knew signing up for the challenge wasn't the most sensible thing to do when I was already suffering from too little time :-(

    ~ Rayna

  2. I was always at the library as a child,always had my head in a book.
    At school the one English subject I really hated was.......POETRY.
    Strange how life hasa way of turning around.

    Thanks for popping by, much appreciated as I know you are extremely busy.


  3. Thanks and I'm sure I would love your library!

  4. such a grt information to all the passionate readers here....thnx...

    PS : do check my new dream..thnx

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous 'L' post Lee! We have so very much in common with books and libraries. I also love them both and can spend an equal number of hours in bookstores just roaming around. It is one of my favorite pasttimes. It sounds like we were very similar students as well. I spent 5 1/2 years at my first undergraduate college, taking anything and everything that tickled my fancy but didn't receive my degree there. I came very close, but received that at another school. I bet you wouldn't mind being a professional student either!

    A very fun post of your memories of the library!

    Have a blessed day.

  6. Great post! I used to love hanging out at the library, brought back memories. These days it's bookstores.

    Thanks for the mention. I'm going to go check out some of the others.

  7. That's quite a library. I frequent ours just because I like the ambience of being in a library. Weird, I know. I do read the magazines like Discover and Astronomy because they're so darn expensive to buy.

    Stephen Tremp

  8. Thanks for the shout out.
    The library is one of my favorite places also.

  9. Oh how I miss the library. Unfortunately there isn't a single library to be seen in Athens - or in Greece in general to be exact. I envy all you people who live in civilisation. LOL. Yeah, what's up with all these Greeks? Haven't they ever heard of books?

  10. Rayna -- Going to the library is like getting on the internet--one thing leads to another. Why would we want you to do anything sensible? I know what you mean-- there is so much to discover in all of these sites. Never enough time.

    Yvonne -- you have been doing such an amazing job of blog hopping and leaving comments. Your gain in followers can attest to that. In school I always disliked history and now I love it. I think we gain more appreciation for many things as we grow older.

    Swimmer -- They've expanded that library greatly since I used to frequent it-- I'm sure it's even better now.

    Rohini -- Thanks for stopping and I left a comment on your most recent dream post.

    Trudy -- we are kindred spirits. I finally got a degree in Business Management in 2007, but I would have rather gotten it in English as I'd originally set out to do--it was just going to be more difficult. I wouldn't mind being a student still, but I guess I still am on my own course of study.

    CC -- For me these days it's the internet. Even on the rare occasions that I still get something from the library, I order it at the website and just go in to pick it up when it arrives at my branch. Ah, convenience.

    Stephen Tremp -- I too like the ambience, but it's the time factor that keeps me from hanging like I used to. Magagzines --don't bring it up--I subscribe to 5 or 6 at any given time and never read those. No point in going to the library to read theirs. I have stacks of someday-I'll-read-them magazines here at my house.

    Suzie -- glad to give credit where it is due.

    AA -- I guess all of their libraries are in ruins and need to be rebuilt. What would Aristotle and Plato and all those eggheads think about the lack of Greek libraries.

  11. The library has always been a favorite place of mine - especially as a child when I needed a place to retreat.

  12. Lover of books as well. Although, I don't have many memories of the library. But can browse in a bookstore for hours.

  13. I love the library!!! I love finding new ones especially the small one's that need some love!!!

    Sorry I've missed your blog lately!! Seems I'm a little bit behind but I'm glad I took the A to Z challenge it's been a blast!

  14. I LOVE libraries! Just walking inside can brighten a gloomy day for me!

  15. I love libraries too. :) We never bought books when I was growing up, always went to the library. Now I buy some that I know I'll want to re-read but am at the library frequently as well. I love just browsing around libraries and bookstores too.

  16. I enjoy libraries, too. In fact, one of the weekly outings I take my children on is to the library. Our local branch does an excellent job of making the library enjoyable for my children.

    A big thanks for mentioning my blog today!


  17. I knew there was something about you I liked! I love books. I love libraries, book stores, and online sites for cheap or out of print books.

    I had a professor once in college who said, "Men, you need to buy the bread in order to eat, but you don't need butter. Take the money you would have spent on butter, eat the bread butterless and buy books. For years I took him up on that. I have a "small" but excellent and growing library of my own.

    Glad to hear your story.

  18. Thanks for your comments. I was beginning to regret including the pictures. I am glad the commentors found it beautiful but you picke up the reason I chose it for L. It was a planned city - every street and street name was decided prior to ground being broken. I find that fascinating! The original site was purposed!

    Now, unfortunately in the years of its heyday and growth, they "City Fathers" were less studious of the impact of the growth and missed the mark by a mile. We have two East-West routes that really get clogged up during peak hours, a few North-South connectors that run straight through.

    We have the original "hub of the wheel" where the Park is the center, and has spokes coming off the hub that run own-way [try going from lane 1 to 3 or vice a versa during peak hours to hit one of those spokes]

    It is a gorgeous place. We have a man made lake running down the center that is decorated for Christ-mass, 4th of July, dog runs, running lanes, fishing dockes, etc. [Lake Sacajawea]

    It is well worth visiting. We are only 8 miles [west]off I-5.

    If you ever drive up the coast and are even close, holler, we can have a drink or coffee dinner.

    Tomorrow, I shall share the other "side" of Longview with the letter M. The dark side.

  19. I can only imagine the fun that you had exploring that gorgeous library! I have always been drawn to libraries, growing up in Chicago, there were as many libraries as there were bars! I don't live there anymore but the library in our small town is over 100 years old and holds so many interesting stories!
    Love Di ♥

  20. That post takes me back. I used to work nights at a pastry shop and then drive my husband to his classes at UCSD...we only had one car.

    For three hours, three-times-a-week, I'd wander through their incredible library. I loved the oversized books section and the solarium.

    Great post.

  21. I loved the library at my high school. My parents couldn't afford to buy books and my librarian made me feel so welcome. There were no public libraries within easy driving distance.
    Now I live in an area where there are many wonderful public libraries. It's too bad the PA government made budget cuts to them so they all had to shorten their hours.

  22. It always starts with a library, doesn't it? What happens when all those libraries go digital? I doubt the memories will be the same.

  23. This is a great blog for L. I haven't been to a library in awhile but now there is one near where I live so I'm sure I'll be spending more time there.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'd be honored if you mentioned me! Thanks! :)

  24. Mmmm libraries. There is something comforting about them. Librarians too. No matter how cranky or tired they are of people asking repetitive questions, they are always willing to help you find that special book.

    My fondest memories as a child (here I go again with the memories) was my mother taking me on trips to the library. She would ask me to research a specific topic, like pandas or the stars, and then I would check out as many books as I could find on the subject, or read about them there at the library.

    I suppose you could say that was the beginning of my academic career.

    I was just at the Downtown Chicago library today. Spent a lovely hour there using their wi-fi. I have also traveled to NYC just to use their Performing Arts Library. Didn't even see a Broadway show, I spent so much time in the library, from open to close.

    Thanks for the great L topic!

  25. I love this post; I love libraries!
    Books open doors to new places, adventures and fascination on so many subjects. I can get lost in
    bookstores and libraries. I use to
    volunteer in the library! I always
    think of them as an excavating. You dig through facts and fiction and you can always find something exciting!

  26. Hey, Lee.
    Have you ever noticed the smell of books? There is nothing like it! it is exciting to go into any library and just smell...I always imagined that it was the wonderful stories and information in the books that created that wonderful aroma, but I guess it was just the ink, eh?
    Great post! I spent quite a lot of time in that library as well as the graduate library.
    Best regards,

  27. Lisa- I always had books at home and I was so shy I was afraid to go to the library

    Wanda -- Yes! Bookstores -- I have a Borders across the street from where I live but I rarely go. But when I do, I'm there for a while.

    Jen -- always glad to have you stop by. Glad A to Z is going well. Watch tomorrow for an announcement about May 3

    Beth -- I spent many cold gloomy days at the UT library.

    Melody -- I have a library within walking distance of my house--I should probably go more often.

    Carmen -- It's important for the libraries to attract the kids --they're the clients of the future.

    Gregg -- love the professor's quote. Hope one day I can take you up on the offer for coffee. Don't see it in the near future, but you never know. I look forward to your M day.

    Diana -- those old small town libraries can hold some real treasures.

    Raquel - A library is a great place to go if you have to wait.

    Susan -- yeah, libraries are probably among the first places to receive budget cuts.

    Alex -- when the libraries go digital you won't even have to go anymore, you can just download everything at home.

    Country Girl --You deserve recognition.

  28. I love libraries and bookstores alike. I am in constant need of something new to read.

  29. Ginny -- Your comment stirred a memory within. I too recall now going to libraries and getting stacks of books to do reports. I had forgotten about doing that. Memories are great -- I like reading them on peoples' blogs.

    Ellie -- I would really dig for obscure things sometimes and discover some pretty crazy stuff.

    Grammy -- The smell is especially noticeable in those old libraries -- a lot of the sterile new ones don't always seem to have much smell. I do like the books where you can smell the ink.

    Marjorie -- I've been reading so many blogs lately that I haven't read any books lately. Maybe it's about time to start a new book.

  30. I love libraries and browsing in them for hours. I don't have much time to do that right now, but I love when I have a chance :)

  31. Yesterday was kind of a crazy day for me (my aol email was hacked) and so I didn't get here to say thanks for the shout out, but I do appreciate it. :-) Your A-Z blogfest has been a great experience.

  32. I love the feeling of exploration and discovery that you get in a library. A lot of the libraries in the UK are being revamped now, but I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to libraries. I love the smell, the silence and the feel of the place as you walk through the stacks. It puts me in mind of an adventurer stumbling upon an ancient trove of wisdom, a wealth of information on almost every conceivable subject. I'm one of those seeker of knowledge types :P

  33. I love spending time in library. I only go now during lunchtime when I'm at work so I don't get to browse much. I usually just request the books I want so I'm not disappointed when I have to go.

    I follow most of the blogs you posted but there are a few new ones, thanks!

  34. Libraries have always been a home- away-from-home for me! :)


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.