Study, Stereotyping and Stories – A Perth University Library

When I think of librarians, I imagine the shushing middle-aged woman from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. That’s the general stereotype anyway.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Curtin University’s librarians go against the grain. People seek advice from purple-haired girls with dragon tattoos, and order books from lanky, backwards-capped receptionists. Such is study when our library hires students for its bulk workers.

The building is both the hub of campus and the place to knuckle down and cram. Second floor (first is underground) hosts the Bookmark café, couch corner, a computer lab and the central foyer. As a popular meeting place, it offers colour, coffee and constant intercom announcements. Not to mention odd artwork, like the interactive crochet tree.

A Perth University Library

A Perth University Library

Volume decreases as elevator floors count up. Noise restrictions are a big thing at sixth. Being the top level, it is a hive of immobility- motionless work, no talk. Soundproof glass separates “the silent room”, an area where only the most stressed of crammers venture. No earphone music, no food, no phone calls allowed.

Levels one, three, four, and five host a collection of cubicles, study corals and personal computers. Of course, there are books and stuff too; it is a library after all. Most of them are old, and all of them are dusty. To public disappointment, there are no comics or fantasy-fiction novels. Instead, it is shelves upon shelves of course recommended literature.  Scanning along their spines, I see varying subjects from medieval weapons and architecture to modern food microbiology.

A Perth University Library

A Perth University Library

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter that this place doesn’t stock Garfield. The people occupying the cubicles are as varied as the staff and books. More interesting stories are found in their person than on the pages of any Dickens or Rowling. In this article, I have only judged intrigue on appearance, humans’ ‘covers’ if you will.

It’s cliché to say, “Everyone is different; everyone is unique”, because there are some things we all have in common. You can’t just look at someone’s exterior. It is likely every student wants to pass their courses, many without knowing what they want to do in life. Our differences are not the only thing that make us interesting, because we have things uniting us and that’s pretty cool too. Within this library there is study, stereotyping, and stories… and they are not found where you might expect.