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Research & Scholarship

The Love of Libraries

April 7th, 2017 by Anita Kuiken

“How do you know you’re alive?” cried The Flying Busman on the Centro shuttle bus from South Campus/Manley Parking Lot a few weeks ago. That day he had something more to share than just one of his poems. It’s the extent at which you wonder and marvel at the world (M. Mahan, personal communication, March 2017). I like that guy. He’s a real spark in this world. Mickey Mahan, The Flying Busman may not be new to you, but he’s new to me. I consider it a lucky day when I alight the shuttle steps to his crackling “good morning” and listen to him sing the stops as we approach each one. What fills me with wonder in this world? What makes me feel alive? There are so many things! The most consistent, though, has always been libraries – libraries do!

I’ve been working in libraries for nearly 16 years, but this love affair started when I was a kid. I remember many happy moments, crawling around on the floor of the young adult section at the county library looking for my next adventure. Decades later, not much has changed. If I’m not crawling around on the floor, I’m online. I’m always on the hunt. These days, the adventure is more about looking for evidence for a research question or finding great new resources for our collection. The thrill of the hunt is not just about finding the answer; it’s more about the journey. Reading and research feed curiosity, passion, and outrage: histories, stories, poems, ground-breaking scientific evidence, you name it. Scholarly conversations bound in print or embodied in artifacts readily accessible on shelves, in databases or stored in special collections and archives are like pieces of otherworldliness waiting to be discovered and discussed.

The contents of libraries stretch our minds by fostering learning, empathy, understanding and new ideas. They make you feel – feel alive. When faced with moments where you know not where to turn, are filled with wonder or curiosity, or have found an idea contrary to what you know, you have happened upon the precipice of a new adventure. You’re in uncharted territory; it’s an opportunity to learn. Come! Come wonder and wander in Syracuse University Libraries.

Not a natural library goer? Hook up with your subject librarian (you have one!) and let us help you feel alive! “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Franz Kafka, 1904 (as cited in Winston 1977)

Winston, R. & Winston C. (1977). Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors. New York: Schocken Books.


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