Libraries contain a special sort of magic that is not always visible to the naked eye. You step in and you see the magic out of the corner of your eye. There’s that book that’s going to change your life. There’s that friend that will be there for life. A vast world has just opened up before you. This is how I felt entering the New York Public Library. Though I have been to many libraries this one is by far the greatest I have seen, and I have seen the Library of Congress. This library is what inspired me to start my journey as a librarian.
As grand as this moment was there was a time before I visited the New York Public Library when a very kind librarian named Julie Deardorff planted a seed in an unanchored English major who was lost at a career fair. She opened my heart to the possibility of libraries as a future career. The New York Public Library sealed the deal.
On this particular trip to New York I was going to see a live orchestra perform the score to The Two Towers along with the film, but before the show started I begged my fellow travelers to go to the
library with me. I could have spent hours there, but I could tell that my companions were less eager to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the tall stone structure. I did, however, get a glimpse into the rare books collection they had on the third floor. My father told an assistant after ringing a mysterious doorbell that I was going to study library science. The assistant assumed that I was already in grad school asking where I was going to school, and I sheepishly told her I was only an undergraduate English major. She humored me all the same.
Now flash forward to now over a year later, and I again was shown a magical room that contained ancient artifacts that hold the key to the past. Cedarville’s archives and special collections is tucked quietly away in the basement of the library. The wonders stored there are truly something special. Dean Lynn Brock works very hard to keep all of the collection carefully preserved, and he even creates displays for the BTS, for students and faculty to observe history through books.
Dean Brock has an excellent collection of Bibles and Christian related books. They are so delicate and old I am transported back into another century every time I see them. I imagine myself as a Pilgrim holding my Geneva Bible on the sandy shores of Jamestown, or as a 17th-century priest preparing copies of the Bible to secretly distribute. Cedarville’s history, though not as old as New York, still contains a vast network of lives and stories that are not that different from my own. I am now a part of the history of this institution. I had the opportunity to set up my own collection of books for students to look at and check out. I was able to make a display for Harry Potter in order to promote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This was a fun opportunity for me to share something I’m interested in with other students who may share my interest, and Harry Potter is a wonderful tale of magic and good vs. evil. An opportunity to share a love for knowledge is always a blessing.
Getting to work with faculty and staff like Dean Brock is also a blessing. We interns are getting to experience different areas of the library that keep it running and growing to meet students’ needs. So much of their work goes unseen and underappreciated by the students here, so I hope that by making fun book displays and getting information out there about how the library can help students, lets students know that there are people working hard behind the scenes to make the library an enchanting place to be.
Shaune Young is a senior English major from Bel Air, Maryland