I’m writing this from inside a library. Not just any library but an actual university library. Where people come to study.
In fact it’s the main library of the University of Reading. The University of Reading is so-called because it is in the town of Reading in Berkshire, England, rather than because it is a high level academic institution dedicated to the cognitive process of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning.
You can study things other than reading at Reading although it is possibly ironic that the first assignment for my MA was on the topic of dyslexia.
I have come to study something else today.
I haven’t studied in a library for years. I’m not entirely sure how to do it.
I’m writing this on Mrs Proclaims’ old laptop. I bought her a new laptop for her birthday a few months ago so she doesn’t need this one anymore but it still works so we didn’t get rid of it.
Her new laptop was a much higher spec machine, but she was reluctant to let this computer go after many years of loyal service. In the end she was only persuaded to part company with it on the basis that the new one was pink.
At home and at work I use desktops. I used to have a laptop but I realised a few years ago that I don’t really go anywhere that would necessitate portable computing, so when that particular laptop died, I bought a desktop computer which represented greater value for money and was generally more comfortable to use.
But since I started my MA I’ve been pondering whether I should go back to owning a laptop. I managed fine with the first few modules, because I mostly used online journals for my references, so I could do all of my work without ever actually needing to leave the house.
But I’m on my last module prior to writing my dissertation and it occurs to me that if I want to write a really good dissertation I might actually need to come to the library.
So I did last week, and I saw that there were all these really cool little work spaces where someone with a laptop could get loads of work done with minimum distraction.
So I commandeered Mrs Proclaim’s old laptop to come back and do that this week.
I’m marginally disappointed because a little bit of me was hoping that the old machine would reveal it’s age and be cumbersome and slow and not work properly and then I would be ‘forced’ to buy myself a new one.
But despite being almost an antique in the fast moving world of information technology, it seems to be more than meeting my needs.
Admittedly ‘my needs’ currently consist of avoiding any actual study and alternating between writing this post and scouting the numerous locations on campus from which I can purchase coffee.
But I think when I get around to doing some work it will be just fine.
Libraries are great places to hang out, if you want to feel intellectual without actually doing anything to merit the label.
I’m fairly sure I will have to read something at some point, but for the moment I’m happy pretending that the information from the many books will just enter my brain by osmosis.