Feeling ROMantic about the library

Ah, spring. Season of love. Season of infatuation. Season of fluttering hearts and wistful glances. True to the time of year, I've been scribbling love notes everywhere. All over my binder, throughout my notes, on the inside of my palm:
I ❤ the ROM.
ROMance, be mine.
The  R♡M Library.
Regardless of how you feel about the crystal, it's hard not to love the ROM. Whether stepping tentatively into the depths of the Bat Cave; gazing awe-struck into the gnashing jaws of a Tyrannosaurus rex; or contemplating the mysteries of Ancient Egypt, the Royal Ontario Museum is a treasure trove full of the wildest curiosities. And as of this morning, there is now another item I have added to my list of Reasons to ♡ the ROM: the ROM Libraries. It's only natural as a student at U of T - a school with so many disparate libraries that borrowing a book can be a city-wide adventure - to feel a little frustrated when searching the library catalogue. Even if you're at Gerstein or Robarts, the one book you really want invariably happens to be at another library, usually located halfway across campus. Frustration was precisely what I felt yesterday when searching for books on aquatic insects: the five books I needed were scattered somewhere over 71.2 hectares of academic institution. Fortunately, three of these books were clustered in one place - the ROM Library. Hence this morning, I found myself wandering through the Chinese collection on the first floor, past a large bronze Buddha.
Main Library & Archives.
Main Library & Archives.
There actually two libraries inside the ROM, the Main Library & Archives and the HH Mu Far Eastern Library. The Main Library houses an international collection of works on archaeology, art, natural history, palaeontology, textiles, and earth and life sciences. The library is particularly well-endowed with an ornithology collection and with works on museology, Egyptology and ethnology. The Archives include manuscripts and photos pertaining to the museum, some of which have been listed online. While materials can only be borrowed by ROM staff and faculty of U of T, the library is provisioned with the Sackler Reading Room where you are invited to spread out and read. The library is also home to a photocopier (15¢ per copy) and a scanner, which you can use for free to send yourself copies via email. The HH Mu Library includes a miscellany of books on the history, culture, numismatics and geography of Central, Eastern, Southeast and South Asia. This library opened in 1933 and was the first library on Asian art and archaeology in Canada. These books are also for reference only, so retrieval requests must be made by staff as the stacks are not open to the public. The hours of both libraries are:

Monday: 12-4:30 pm Tuesday: 12-5:30 pm Wednesday to Friday: 12-4:30 pm


Everyone can access the ROM Libraries for free, but a pass is needed to get into either one. For the Main Library, a clothing tag is available from Admissions at the building's front door, and a meander through the museum's first floor inadvertently brings you to the library entrance.
The HH Mu Far Eastern Library is a little harder to find. Instead of entering through the main doors, go to the ROM's southern entrance, where you sign in at a security desk before heading up to the sixth floor of the Louise Hawley Stone Curatorial Centre.
So why love the ROM Libraries so much? I think I can sum it up in one simple sentence: Where else would anyone ever get the chance to read Freshwater Fishes by Herbert R. Axelrod while sitting amongst the time-beaten remains of the Cretaceous and Jurrassic, surrounded by books on tropical amphibians, and stuck inside what must quite conclusively be the world's largest crystal?
- Mary
PS I ♡ the ROM.

2 comments on “Feeling ROMantic about the library

  1. I absolutely love ROM too!! It’s just so fascinating and fun isn’t it? I think it’s about time I paid a little visit to the libraries there……..I can’t believe I’ve never thought about that before!

  2. Yeah, the main library was quiet, was furnished with free scanners and friendly staff, and houses a comprehensive collection of works. Plus to get in you have to walk through the main floor and can steal peaks into the permanent collection en route. Let me know what the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library’s like if you go- I haven’t made it to the one yet!

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