I will now interrupt my regular style of blog post (events) to bring you a little snapshot of life at ISH. This month, I am writing about the library – bear with me, I promise this will be as informative and entertaining as my posts about DC events.
The main building of ISH (we have three: Main, Van Slyck and Marpat) houses most of our communal rooms, including the Library. It is my favourite room in the house, and yes that means in my mind it beats out the gorgeous Great Hall, and even the dining hall where you can find good conversation and if you’re lucky, crispy American bacon.
So, why the library?
Well firstly, it’s the books. I am a book worm, a book nerd, a book fiend, whatever title you like. I love the smell of an old bookstore and could spend hours browsing the shelves down at Kramerbooks and Afterwords or Second Story books. Our library has books stacked to the ceilings and then some. It is a treasure trove of memories of residents who have come before and left a piece of themselves behind. Here is just a selection I found from a quick lap of the room: “For Love of Country: The National Heroes of Barbados”; “Treasures from the Kremlin”; “The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare”; “Facts About Alaska”; “The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy”; and “Rival Views on Market Society.” That’s not to mention the John Grisham novels, encyclopedias and almanacs and the myriad of books in languages other than English. I often go looking for the perfect next bedtime reading book but find myself lost in a sea of choices. Sure, I could pick an easy-going romance but perhaps I should educate myself about macroeconomics in South-East Asia?
The library is also the designated movie room. Here we have watched many classics: from Les Miserables and Forrest Gump to using it as an excuse to rediscover our inner child with Hercules and Shrek. On any given day at any given time you will find someone watching sport: American football, basketball, soccer, rugby, the odd boxing match and, of course, the best sport of all – Democratic debates. I am sorely disappointed that I will not be in the House for the Olympics which I am sure will mean the television is never off!
Of course, it’s also a place for a quiet moment. A spot to catch up on your readings, write a blog post, perhaps sneak in a nap on the ridiculously comfortable couches. It’s often the scene of late-night chats over a cup of tea, as residents confide in each other their stresses and failures but also their hopes and dreams.
Every day I walk through the library to and from the way from my room and it makes me smile. It occurs to me that while I still have over three months left in the House, I have already begun to miss it.