Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Home Away From Home

I have discovered something this year that has brought tremendous happiness to my career as a college student: the Harold B. Lee Library is not a torture chamber.
My experiences in the BYU library before I had this revelation were somewhat less than enjoyable. The first time I entered the building my freshman year, I was so overwhelmed with it's size that I took a few steps into the Periodicals section and then quickly turned and left. There was no way I was going to find anything in there! The next time I got the nerve to cross the threshold into the library was when I was given an assignment that forced me to spend a few hours pouring over microfilms of early church history. By the time I left the library, I felt dizzy and had an earsplitting headache. Looking at pages and pages of words moving a mile a minute over a very bright screen never made anyone feel healthy. Needless to say, my attitude toward that building was never a very pleasant one.
But all that changed for me a couple of weeks ago. I am currently enrolled in the beginning course for the History major, Historian's Craft (History 200). Now if you don't know what a historian's craft is supposed to be, let me clue you in: research papers. As I sat there in class, listening to my teacher go over the syllabus, I suddenly realized that I would have to get over my fear of the library very soon. I picked my topic for my research paper (the influence of the "God-is-on-our-side" mentality on the Revolutionary War) and I decided to face my fear and head to the library. Trembling, I managed to find my way over to the Social Sciences section. I sat down at the nearest computer and found the location of a book that might have something to do with my topic. I searched the rows and rows of books and finally matched the hard copy to it's call number. Then it hit me. I was in an aisle containing hundreds and hundreds of books about the Revolutionary War. They weren't just any books either; many of them were primary sources (exactly what I need for my paper)! The Papers of George Washington, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, collections of letters and journals of Continental and British soldiers, the Journals of Congress, etc. I was in a gold mine! Suddenly, the library had become an amazing source of knowledge in my eyes. I couldn't believe how much information about my favorite subject was stacked on those shelves that, only a few minutes before, had seemed so daunting.
My ignorant beliefs and fears now pushed aside, the library has now become the ideal place for me to study. The intimidating shelves are now some of my closest associates and the frightening books and I are now thick as thieves. So, watch out Disneyland! You've got some competition for the title of "Happiest Place on Earth!"