In the early 1900s, Robert Winship Woodruff attended Emory University. However, Woodruff’s academic performance was not on par with University standards and he ended up leaving Emory after only one term. He later went on to become president of The Coca-Cola Company, where he used his immense fortune to financially support Emory University’s development as an esteemed academic institution. To express their gratitude, the Emory administration instructed that a landmark be built in his namesake, and in 1982, the Robert W. Woodruff Library was completed.
I owe Woodruff many thanks. Although at times I chuckle humbly to myself upon entering the library because I personally believe that the building is an ironic testament to Woodruff’s notorious academic legacy, the building offers the University community an academic safe haven. What students may not realize, however, is that Woodruff Library is not just a place for pre-midterm binge studying, power napping and having the occasional 4 a.m. panic attack. I believe that the Woodruff Library is bursting at the seams with history and opportunity, and for this reason, I intend to live my life in accordance with the Woodruff Library Manifesto:
1. I will fulfill the most basic obligations of every Emory student who visits the library, which entails (a) pulling one all-nighter in the stacks, (b) obtaining a bird’s eye view of the University via the balcony accessible through the 10th floor, (c) eating two meals in Jazzman’s Café during one study session and (d) showering in the third floor bathroom showers located near the art exhibits.
2. By the time I graduate, I will rent everything available to students from the Music and Media Library on the fourth floor, which includes DVDs, iPads, iPods, music records, laptops, cameras, microphones and projectors. More importantly, I will rent “Zoolander” on DVD, a laptop to play it on and a projector to display the film on a white wall in my residence hall so that I may celebrate the film’s historical significance on a particular evening with my friends.
3. I will take advantage of the Lynda.com Online Training Library that computers have loaded on the second floor of the Woodruff Library. I will use these training videos to educate myself on digital software and technology, such as photography, web design, animation and coding because I am grateful that my university offers me this $250 subscription for free.
4. I will peruse the Recreational Reading Collection on the second floor of the Woodruff Library on a particular evening before spring break. After thinking about the popular literary trends in fiction and non-fiction that this collection showcases, I will violate cultural and gender norms by renting a copy of “50 Shades of Grey.”
5. If I am unsuccessful in procuring a physical copy of “50 Shades of Grey” from the Recreational Reading Collection, I will rent an eBook for free through overdrive.emory.edu and will unapologetically read through it on my Kindle rented through the Goizueta Business School Library.
6. I will remain faithful to my favorite newspapers, Iceland’s Frettabladid and Cambodia’s The Phnom Penh Post, because I know I can access them through the library-offered PressDisplay, which gives me instant online access to more than 2,000 newspapers around the globe.
7. I will test the Sneeze Hypothesis in the Matheson Reading Room. This entails sneezing unsuspectingly and recording the average number of threatening glances I receive from studying students. The reported record is 12 threatening glances for one sneeze.
8. I will pay my respect to Seamus Heaney, recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature and beloved friend of Emory University, by visiting the exhibit that celebrates his life and work located in Schatten Gallery on the third floor of the library.
9. I will attend at least three speeches, discussions or live readings by famous authors and poets who visit the Woodruff Library.
10. I will spend one afternoon in the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) located on the 10th floor of the Woodruff Library. I will read the first edition signed copy of “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. I will peruse the digital archives of Salman Rushdie and examine notable works by Flannery O’Connor and Alice Walker. But most importantly, I will read one copy of the Wheel dating back to 1920 from start to finish, because MARBL has more than 90 years worth of Wheel articles archived for students to explore the rich history and culture of Emory University.
In fulfilling the items listed above, I will maximize my Emory experience by utilizing the Woodruff Library to the best of my ability. This is how I have decided to live my Emory experience. How will you live yours?