The university is always making changes here and there. Sometimes I kind of wish I had been born a few years later, so that now I’d actually be able to take advantage of all these new things the school has put into place since I got here. For example, the new physics and chemistry labs for first years – I didn’t have that! The accessible plugs on every desk in the Robarts study rooms–I didn’t have that! The new CR/NCR option for course selection – I did NOT have that when I had to take multivariable calculus, which resulted in many breakdowns in my second year.
And now they have a Reading Room in Gerstein! For those of you who frequent the library, you’d know how packed it can get during mid-term season. This new Reading Room is like a lifesaver. It’s very close to the main entrance as well: immediately after you walk past the security poles (or beepers, since they tend beep randomly for no reason), turn right – it should be the room through the glass double doors on the left hand side of all the computer stations.
It gets even better! If you keep on walking past this room, you’ll get to another room, more ancient, with tall windows covered in ivy and some wooden desks sparsely scattered throughout the study space. This one is even quieter than the previous room, with more empty seats as well.
Now for the best part. If you keep on walking past this room as well, you’ll get to the third and final room. (Gerstein is like a vault!) I really like this one because there are usually so few people here. It’s so quiet that you can practically hear people’s breaths all the way from the other end of the room. The ceiling is extremely high, with more tall windows facing Kings College Circle (I’m not very descriptive, I know). Hung around the wall are huge portraits of anonymously important historical figures.
There are also rows of dusty wooden library carrels, and each comes with a little storage space that can be locked (I highly doubt that anyone actually uses these anymore, but there was one with a huge lock on it. Don’t know why it’s there). The whole atmosphere somehow reminded me of Anne of the Green Gables. I know, this is U of T, not Queen’s, but somehow, sitting in that room and bathed in sunlight, I couldn’t help but feel that I’ve traveled back in time. When I finally snapped out of it, I decided that for being in rooms like these (rooms with histories, rooms with stories, rooms with mysteries), my tuition is worth its every cent.