The UMass library is the tallest library in the world – 26 stories – and I’m rappelling out the window of the 22nd story from a guitar string. You see, I dropped my trusty Symbol barcode reader, which I’ve been using to attempt to find this book by Madeline L’Engle, from which I need to quote a particular passage in order to gain entrance to the steam tunnels beneath the building.
See, Amherst has these building-size requirements, but UMass gets around the restrictions by connecting buildings with tunnels and claiming they’re just one building. The library is a connected to a two other buildings by a bridges, a common basement, and an underground tunnel. The tunnel is never used, for some reason, and it’s brightly lit and there’s just so much empty space… There’s also two more tunnels on campus but they’re not nearly as long (1000 feet) or as brightly lit and clean.
I like those empty, abandoned places… knowing that where I am is totally public, and yet nobody will bother me here, that I can be alone here.