I entered the lower levels of Firestone Library for the first time today. I’ve always heard people say “Oh yeah, I’ve spent most of the day deep in Firestone,” but until today I could only imagine what they meant. If there’s one thing that I will take away from this day spent in the depths of the library, it is this: Firestone is one of the most outrageous buildings I have ever entered. From the miles of ancient tomes that stretch throughout its bowels to the hundreds of cozy blue cells that form a prison-like matrix across the B and C floors, Firestone’s accoutrements surely mark it as a ludicrous lair of learning. There are nooks and crannies in that place that probably have not felt the tread of a human foot for decades. My friend and I joked that we could likely fall asleep in some remote region of the library and not be discovered for hours. How crazy is that?
Aside from the sheer area of the library, its age and upkeep further add to its absurdity. Some of the doorknobs were obviously installed more than half a century ago, in addition to some of the curiously faded pictures on the walls. I passed by an elevated view of 19th century New York and couldn’t help but wonder, “Why the hell is this here?” The number of oddities one encounters is endless. In the span of just 10 minutes, I faced fluorescent light tubes, wooden swords, and even an abandoned drinking fountain. Yes, this drinking fountain was just hanging out on the floor in some forsaken hallway, who knows why.
All of these pointless discoveries have brought me closer to our University library than I ever thought possible. I went from viewing Firestone as some place of dread which swallowed undergraduates into its stone-cold maw to seeing it for what it really is: an epic architectural marvel which has been provided for our use. So, the next time that you find yourself in Firestone, take some time to look around. You might never leave.