What’s great: MIT Libraries.
What’s not great: MIT’s Library Search System. (Also my ability to write everyday)
Maybe because I don’t know what I want to read… when I decide I finally want to read. I actually don’t read much coming here because I get distracted too easily by homework or other people. It’s okay because there are a lot of readings for my technical classes anyway. But when I finally get the motivation to check out a book, I end up losing a lot of time deciding what book to get. Especially if I go downstairs in the Hayden library and see stacks and stacks of books, I can take a pretty long time to decide.
Actually, when I first arrived on campus, I thought Hayden library wasn’t a library at all. I thought it was more of a study space with only a few shelves of books. It was only a month later that I found out that all the books were in the basement. I rarely go down there though (there usually aren’t many people down there). So what I end up doing is checking out the books in the “newly obtained” bookshelves. Not only are the books new, but the shelves also have fewer options and so it’s easier for me to choose a book and actually start reading.
What about music books? Ask Forrest.
In the Dewey music library, there is another way to find sheet music even if you don’t know half of the composers. Forrest is a staff member who is really good at finding scores for music. I have asked him many times for duets, sight-reading, and even sax books and he has given me suggestions that matched my skill level and tastes. He also does it quickly unlike my multiple hour long failed searches for good duet pieces. I’m so glad someone introduced me to him. :) The online search system is terrible, so don’t even try it unless you know the exact opus number.
The auto-renew system is also a huge plus here. Books get auto-renewed for months at a time. This is great especially when I forget during busy midterm weeks and forget to return books. I still have 8 books checkout right now from the beginning of the semester!
If I would do if I did it over again:
If you’re trying to study, go to empty classrooms if it’s out of normal class hours. While the library is great, empty classrooms have an occupancy size of one (completely distraction-free). Also, don’t use the online search system unless you know exactly what book you want. And don’t go downstairs in Hayden unless you really know what you are trying to get. Stick with the new books.
And ask Forrest!