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  • Literary Lots

The Same Seat at the Library

I don't know how long I've been since I sat in this seat at this table, on the second floor of this library. Back for a quick visit to Boston, I had lots of work to do and found my way to the familiar tables and stacks of the library I know best in Boston, the second floor of the Mugar Memorial Library. Why this library, this seat, this table? Because this floor has large windows that overlook Storrow Drive (like the Shoreway) and the Charles River. You walk up the stairs and turn left past the stacks of books on music, composers and music history and then the room opens to a set of wide tables and the windows. The sound of the cars whizzing by provide that ocean sound of white noise that is only disturbed by the the occasional rustle of someone taking books off the shelf or gathering their things to come or go. I spent countless hours at this table when going to school at Boston University. Today as I walked around after years there are new buildings, new facilities, it felt at times like a different place, but this spot in the library seems unchanged. The smell of old books fill the air and the atmosphere is one of diligent study on a cloudy Friday afternoon. Time seems to stop in the quiet and I don't even know how long I've been sitting here working myself. It's familiar and it's comforting. There is at once a sense of belong and a sense of anonymity that the library provides. Muscle memory directs you to where you fit in the space or deadlines direct you to the exact research materials needed. Unbound by time or assignment, the public libraries provide previews of the latest books and music tempting me to check out more than I could possibly read in a week or two or even three. The rain pours outside and there is a cozy feeling stuck inside here between the stacks and all the knowledge and information I could never know, sitting in the same seat, and the same table working away.

Same seat, same table at the Mugar Memorial

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