Lucky for us, Nectarine's mom, Nectamommy, came to the rescue. She's famous around these parts, you know. She wrote a book. And she has a library card. That's how we got access to our very special guided tour of the Northwestern Deering Library and -- AND -- the regular library too.
If you have not been to your local university's library lately, I implore you to go (unless, of course, your local university is online). Our tour guide was the lovely Lauren, Nectamommy's assistant (Did I mention she's famous in these parts? She has an assistant).
Here she is with my crew in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies.
This brings me to just one of the the things I love about this library: it boasts the largest collection of African literature in the country. I am totally stealing Nectamommy's library card and coming back here one day.
And right across from this incredible wing is another incredible wing devoted to curricula, children's literature, and transportation ("One of these things is not like the other..."). Here is the view from this floor.
Now I thought the coolest part of our tour was the conservation room. I should preface the following pictures by mentioning that libraries are already my favorite places on earth. A library with old, historical stuff is my personal nirvana. On our tour today, the conservationist was working on a German biography of Pope Gregory written in Latin during the 900's. I was this close to asking the conservationist to marry me.
The kids' favorite part was the Harry Potter section of the Deering Library. You heard me: The Harry Potter section. I am pretty sure the title is merely honorary, but tell me these pictures don't make you crave snot flavored jelly beans.
My next favorite part of the library took me by surprise. Remember this?
Isn't she gorgeous? Here's a close-up.
Lauren was kind enough to mention that this system, the system of finding library books I used in graduate school, started to phase out when she was in kindergarten. Punk.
I loved the old card catalog as much as I loved the old book press.
We also saw the "Reference Room", where, I assume, the librarian acts as your own personal google.com -- occasionally, I am told, by looking things up on... uh... google.com.
I suggested to Lauren that the library could make money by holding sleep-overs -- like the Field Museum. I would love a sleep-over at a library like this. She informed me that the library has a substantial endowment funding it. It's well-endowed.
After we'd run like ferrets to our car to dodge the rain pelting every inch of our bodies, the kids all agreed that it was a successful field trip -- even though the librarian could not find the historical map they own that was once stolen and then returned.