Libraries, Continued…

Having caught up (not completely, but a bit) on sleep, I am much saner and more well balanced today. This is a very good thing, particularly since I’ve been catching up on reading.

Last night, I finished reading Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.

Today, I am reading Disease, Desire, and the Body in Victorian Women’s Popular Fiction by Pamela K. Gilbert. I’m highlighting every other paragraph (on my kindle). So, yeah. Intriguing stuff. For example:

Genre is a category that has less to do with intrinsic properties of particular texts than the needs and concerns of readers reading those texts –  a particular era and cultural group, its concatenation of fears and desires and market forces which take shape from and feed those trends. Generic categorization and slippage between categories mark a particular point of interest since the act of naming is also an act of reading the bodies of authors and readers by whom the text is produced and consumed. (Gilbert loc. 77)

This is making me inspired to start writing my SWPACA (Southwest Popular/American Culture Association) paper, which is about the way Neo-Victorian aesthetics in Lost Girl couple with an emphasis on social and gender binarisms and the human body to mediate the past and present and negotiate supposedly fixed categories. See the connection? 😉

And, yes, I often jump from children’s lit to Victorian Literary Criticism. I have diverse tastes in reading material, okay?

Anyway, I promised to finish a certain PhD school library tour today, and so I shall:

University of Iowa, Iowa City.

According to the University of Iowa website, the current Main Library (which, as far as I can tell, has no other name) was complete and in use in 1972. The Iowa City campus boasts several libraries (like all of the other campuses I’ve looked at) and houses, altogether, some five-million texts. Impressive, right? Here’s a photo-history of the current library building.

University of Chicago.

At University of Chicago, there are six libraries (and all of them are beautiful. I’m not an architecture nerd, but wow). The humanities collection is hosted in the Joseph Regenstein library, pictured here. I googled some different shots of the building, and it is significantly bigger that it looks. Like the TARDIS. Or something…

Anyway, according to the University of Chicago website, the Regenstein Library holds over 4.5 million texts (and that’s just physical copies, folks!). This probably explains the enormity of the library. I mean, it’s five stories of book after book after beautiful book. I’m feeling a bit weak in the knees, at the moment. *drools*

And as all good research libraries should, the Regenstein hosts a cafe for caffeine pumping.


Have you ever been inside of a library that looks like a castle or some English manor right out of Jane Eyre? No? Neither have I. Now that I’ve been reminded of this lack, it’s being bumped to the top of my bucket list. The very top. Before jamming with Jolie Holland, before eating a whole bucket of fries in Idaho, aka potato-land, and even before becoming the next Gilbert and Gubar with my good friend and fellow Victorian nerd (who I’ll refrain from naming here because I don’t know if she’d like it). Okay, not before that last one. I *strive* to be the next Gilbert and Gubar, with every fiber of my being.

Whew. Anyway, Duke’s David M. Rubenstein library would be an excellent choice for bucket-list-crossing-off-activity. Just look at it and try not to drool in awe. I’ll wait. *crosses arms*

You failed, didn’t you? I see that drool-smear on your chin. Don’t worry, there’s no shame. The Rubenstein library, according to Duke’s website, the library was built in 1928 and added to in 1948. Inside, there are a host of bookish wonders, including a rare manuscript collection. Sigh. It is so beautiful.


At Brown, the main humanities library is the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library. AKA, “the Rock.” According to the website, “The Rockefeller Library with a capacity of 1,500,000 books was opened in 1964.” That’s a lot of books. 🙂

Here’s a picture of the current library, and here’s a link to the history of the library at Brown. 

That concludes our library tour, ladies and gentlemen, please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle until we come to a full stop. Until next time, this has been the anxious-potential-PhD with a lot of information you may or may not care about.

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