Stefano Flavoni: Specialized Libraries

April 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have two libraries that I’d like to report on.  The one I am presenting on in class will be the Physics and Astronomy library on the third floor of New LeConte Hall, which I used extensively as a physics major, and the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library, which I use weekly, if not daily, in my study of music.

The Physics-Astronomy library is an amazing campus resource.  The librarian, Susan Koskinen, is very helpful and offers tours several times a week to assist the budding scientists with electronic resources as well as the varied collections within the library proper.  What is very interesting is that the library is very low-key compared to most campus resources.  There is a lounge area with a glass chess set located next to the most recently published issues of the world’s best physics journals (yes, the world’s – I’ve read journals in Italian here and regularly see ones in Chinese, Russian, French, and German).

Heading up a claustrophobia-inducing metal staircase, we head to the book area.  They are separated by subtopic in physics and feature resources in several different languages.  A good portion of the books are first editions and, in several notable cases (such as those of Albert Einstein), were donated by the family of the authors themselves.  It’s a very awe-inspiring feeling to know that the book you’re holding may have once been in the hands of Einstein, Feynman, or Poincare.

The library is only available on weekdays from 9-7 M-Th, and 9-5 on Fridays, with Sunday access available only to those with building access (i.e. faculty).

The music library is a different animal entirely.  I know it’s already being covered, so I’ll keep this relatively brief.  It is extremely well-organized and offers a microcosm of the entirety of the Berkeley library system, featuring every single resource covered in class except that it only focuses on music.  It is an excellent study location and I suggest checking out their vast collection of recordings when you get a chance.

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