I realize this makes me a complete dork, but I am okay with that. I spent most of my day driving around to area colleges and universities tracking down articles by and about Mukherjee. Some are quite difficult to find. Because our school library was closed during the summer due to the construction on our cafeteria, the librarian had limited access to our resources (and I didn’t want to bother her over the summer), we met yesterday to search for the remaining articles I was unable to find. Some are in some insanely obscure journals. Today was the day to track those elusive rascals down.
I began at the University of Hartford, where I drove all over their campus looking for the library. Even though it’s a university, I was lucky it isn’t a huge university. When I finally parked in some visitor lot, I asked a long-haired, smoking student to kick me in the direction of the library, and he was happy to.
UHA looks a lot like a state school, in the way that UMass, Amherst looks like somebody barfed up all these cement buildings everywhere — well, UHA is slightly more elegant in that somebody barfed up brink buildings everywhere — though with similar architecture to UMass.
When I got to the library, I was amused to see the reference librarian office had a sign on it saying “Please Disturb,” which made me chuckle until I walked in, and they obviously did NOT want to be disturbed. The librarian finally looked up from her computer and said, “I can’t help you now. I’m preparing for a class.” Then an officious assistant helped me. When I was kicked once again in the right direction, and I went up to the stacks, I got that rush of excitement I get when I’m in library stacks. Getting lost in stacks is like temporarily losing touch with the problems of the world.
When I went to St. Joseph’s College, which had a great reference librarian, it was a smaller library, but the little rooms with the stacks were equally inviting. I commented on this to the librarian, and she said, “Yes, stacks do tend to have a romantic appeal.” This reminded me of Mark Strand’s poem “Eating Poetry”, which she had not read.
Being on campuses today made me miss college and that whole academic world. I loved being a student. I love huge libraries.