As overzealous freshmen flood the library halls eager to begin their Hillsdale learning, it is worth taking a second look at this hallowed study spot.
At the start of Mossey Madness last year, I could not imagine that this literary establishment had any sour histories, other than the apparent rampant gambling ring being advertised before my very eyes. Yet, a little trip down Hillsdale’s memory lane (yes, the beautiful Collegian archives) told a different tale.
Beginning in November 1932, The Collegian has provided a platform for students to voice concerns against the library. In the Nov. 1, 1932 issue of The Collegian, an anonymous senior at Hillsdale wrote, “I write a protest — a protest for all to hear. Gone are the days of peaceful ‘studying’ in the Library.”
That is an opening line that has stood and will stand the test of time.
The author continued, “Gone are those days when one could nonchalantly take the arm of one’s ‘friend’ and saunter casually to the library for an evening of peaceful diversion. A place, where ’neath the softly shaded green lights, couples sat alone and whispered sweet nothings to one another.”
A protester and a poet it would seem.
But when has it ever been socially acceptable to “whisper sweet nothings” to your significant other in a library? Either 1932 was a very different time or this author was a very different kind of campus Romeo.
The author concluded his outcry with this final petition: “Seniors, I appeal to you to join with me and enter a protest … We must hurry, no time is to be lost, for we have not long here, and a new generation is arising, and they will never know what t’was like to find a vacant chair in the Library, — or better yet — two vacant chairs, side by side.”
Well, luckily for us this petition failed and while library romances do still haunt the current students, they are for the most part a minority.
However, the protests apparently were not.
On May 1, 1997, Zachariah Crossen ’98 wrote an article complaining about a different issue in the college’s library system.
He wrote, “what concerns me are the grossly-inadequate library and the pitiful reprehensible computer facilities.”
He continued, “Our college library is perfectly fine, provided your ambitions do not exceed that of an aspiring dilettante.”
Tough job on the part of the library to balance this complaint with the previous quibble basically asking the staff to become the production crew of “The Bachelor” and set the boys of Hillsdale up on a dream dates in purgatory. In other words, to serve the dilettantes of Hillsdale county.
In a particularly low blow, Crossen wrote, “To us, our library is a superficial wasteland with more Judy Blume than Augustine.”
Different strokes for different folks, but don’t you dare shade Judy Blume like that.
“My studies in Islam and the First Crusade have been severely compromised by our inept selection,” he continued. He should have studied Freckle Juice instead. That one’s on him.
I will be honest, as I continued reading, this guy’s credibility began to grow severely compromised.
When he began discussing the computer situation in the library he wrote, “First of all, whose idea was it to buy Macintosh? Good one. Sometimes, I honestly think I’d rather write long hand than lower myself to the ‘Apple’ level. Give me a break.”
His credibility is officially in the toilet.
It is around this point that I began to think these complaints were part of an elaborate “Saturday Night Live” skit that was waiting for a college student to finally dig into the archives and start writing a column about them.
Then I stumbled upon this gem.
On April 26, 2007, The Collegian ran this headline: “Library hosts jazz specials.” Now I may not be the most well-versed in library etiquette, but isn’t it in the nature of the library to be a place of quiet? And wouldn’t throwing a jazz concert into the mix compromise that very nature?
In my head all I can see is Zachariah Crossen slowly losing his mind.
The ending of this fantastically headlined article may be my favorite conclusion of any newspaper story ever. Author Michael Mayday ‘11 wrote, “Hillsdale freshman Stephen Hilgendorf said he would ‘definitely consider’ attending more concerts.”
I get that “definitely consider” was a quote and had to be put in quotations, but I read the quotation marks as more along the lines of “I will never come back to the library again.”
And after this douse of a column I can’t say I disagree.