There’s Something About Fogler Library
Another Homecoming has come and gone, and after a beautiful weekend of football, hockey, filling the steins, and catching up with friends, I somehow love my Alma Mater even more. The celebration wouldn’t be complete without a drive around campus, and a quick visit to Fogler, or officially, Raymond H. Fogler Library.
The view from the end of the mall, looking towards the stately facade of one of the most charming buildings on campus, is used frequently in representations (ads) for the University. Appropriately so, as libraries are, after all, filled with information and materials spanning disciplines and areas of study, connecting scholars and authors and scientists and athletes and philosophers (and others).
Walking through the front doors, you’re met with a staircase that leads to a large room filled with tables and chairs; opposite them is a wall partitioning off the Presidents’ Room, where previous leaders watch over studying, socializing, and sleeping students from their spots on the walls, some last names recognizable on signs outside various campus buildings. Large windows face the mall, and fill the room with light.
The stacks reside in the back of the library; moving shelves can be found on the second floor, as can books for children. On this most recent trip, a room that used to hold a few rows of shelves now only has tables and study areas; the missing shelves no doubt have a cozier home elsewhere in the building.
On the third floor, talking and conversation is not allowed – signs politely remind visitors that this is THE QUIET FLOOR. More stacks fill this section of the library, although desks and heightened study nooks line the walls. At the very back, a large window looks south over campus, a view that can distract when studying in this space. Special Collections can be found on this floor; check the visiting hours before stopping by to view the bound tenants inside.
Back on the first floor, you can start your conversations back up at full volume as you browse new selections and current reads, or head to the back and use the computers in the reference section. You don’t have to research alone; visit with the reference librarians and explore the wonders of…whatever you’re exploring.
During a semester at UMaine I worked in the reference section, which meant I brought books back to their shelves, dusted, added and removed pages of state law books, helped students connect with the reference librarians, served as a help desk attendant, and, my favorite part, visited Acquisitions to pick up book jackets that are used only in display cases downstairs. A small staircase wraps around the elevator I had to take with my metal cart, and I would walk through a small hallway (that resembles an attic with a ceiling of normal height) filled with books being repaired to the offices of individuals who work behind the scenes. Yes, this little trip was always as magical as I hope I’ve made it sound.
If you find yourself in Orono and on the University of Maine campus, Fogler Library will be difficult to miss, so go inside! Breathe the oddly fresh musty smell, grab a book (or many) off a shelf and take in the views throughout the building. Talk to a librarian, see if you can tell where the “new” part of the library meets the original, and join in with the rest of us who will never get used to the rapid change in temperature as you walk up and down the stairs.