“Speaking of li…

“Speaking of libraries: A big open-stack academic or public library is no small pleasure to work in. You’re, say, trying to do a piece on something in Nevada, and you go down to C Floor, deep in the earth, and out to what a miner would call a remote working face. You find 10995.497S just where the card catalog and the online computer thought it would be, but that is only the initial nick. The book you knew about has led you to others you did not know about. To the ceiling the shelves are loaded with books about Nevada. You pull them down, one at a time, and sit on the floor and look them over until you are sitting on a pile five feet high, at which point you are late home for dinner and you get up and walk away. It’s an incomparable boon to research, all that; but it is also a reason why there are almost no large open-stack libraries left in the world.” –John McPhee

Love this quote! Was looking for something to describe how I feel when I do research, the process of article leading to article, article to book, book to book, until you have 100 tabs open on your browser and a stack of books taking over the desk. The process of one sentence or idea invoking a sense of curiosity that leads to a long tangent from the original line of research, but only making it that much better in the end. Research sucks you in, and suddenly it’s 3 am and you have class at 8…It’s a love-hate relationship. 

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2 thoughts on ““Speaking of li…

  1. It’s like looking up a word in a dictionary and finding a word you’ve never heard before and forgetting what you were looking for or going to an encyclopedia and just leafing through it reading about whatever.

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