Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cotsen Children's Library - "Bookscape"

I'm not allowed to take photos of this place, and my writing will never sufficiently communicate how much I love this haven from the rest of campus. But E for enthusiasm?

Walk into Firestone, meander to the right short of the place where the librarians keep important stuff for adults, and one will stumble across the gem that is the Cotsen Children's Library. The rare books, shelved in a three-floor glass case to the right of the entrance, were donated to the University in 1997 by Lloyd E. Cotsen '50 - former chairman and CEO of Neutrogena.

To the left of the entrance is a gigantic blue book. Past this, one falls into something weird - relative to the rest of campus. The room is full of windows without panes, frog/butterfly wallpaper, and really soft red-orange couches. It feels like a mix between a kindergarten classroom and the toy store from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

There's a gigantic tree you can walk into, a well that also has the Pete - Repete joke on it, and a handpuppet theater with Shakespeare's quote written on the top.

Small bookshelves, which are cute compared to the stacks beneath, hold titles like "The Golden Compass" and "Redwall" - stuff I can't read anymore because I split my time between procrastinating and staring at piles of unread e-reserves.

In the rare-books glass case, I found titles like "New England Primer" and "The Doll's Library." The books in here are available for researchers to study in the Dulles Reading Room.

The name "Bookscape" is apt - the place is a nice little getaway from the smells of the rest of campus when Dean's Date looms ahead. The small tables and chairs will remind you of the good old days when naps and storytime were a regular part of class.

Pictures online courtesy of Cotsen Children's Library: "Bookscape"