The Bums in Bunn: Libbin' La Vida Loca

Features  /  by Ben Marrow '13  /  October 01, 2011

Whether it’s after brunch on a Sunday or 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday night, there will always be people in Bunn Library. No other structure on campus can boast the same attendance rate, but then again, no other building hosts as diverse a range of people as our beloved, book-filled behemoth. It is these characters who make our library what it is, and so, without further ado, I shall proceed to describe Bunn Library’s various inhabitants.

For starters, there’s the infamous “homework printer.” Few items on campus malfunction more often than the house printers. As a result, one is guaranteed to find up to twenty students festering in the library on any given school day. These desperate students invade the library computer labs between classes, log on to their emails, print out their papers, and vanish unceremoniously after just one punch of the stapler. Easily recognizable by his evident distress and panic, the typical homework printer does not even bother to take a seat before frantically sprinting off to his next class.

Then, there is the “free-period studier.” These are the people, who, during their breaks, head towards the library, find a desk in some obscure corner, and rip open their textbooks. Far from common belief, however, these people are not all workaholic geeks. A large number are students who, upon finding themselves alone during a free period, attempt to conceal their solitude under a façade of meticulous study and diligent note taking.  You can usually identify these people, as they are reluctant to study (they are often found slouching in chairs in the computer lab), and often come to the library only after they discover how empty their house is.

If you have ever wondered why there seem to be more girls in the library than boys, it has less to do with a gendered penchant for reading than it does with the location of the houses. The “Crescent passer-by” accounts for nearly half of the library’s population at any given time. Crescent girls find that walking through the library is the fastest way to their house. Gaggles of gregarious girls pass through the library after class, greeting the librarians and their friends, effectively doubling the decibel level in the library in the mere sixty seconds of their visit.

Everybody in the school has, at one time or another, been a “last-minute laborer.” This group grows rapidly during the hours of consultation and towards the end of lunch. Some are reading furiously, some are expediously typing, and some are printing (see “homework printer”). All, nonetheless, are trying to put the finishing touches on assignments due next period. These people are usually tense, impatient, and overly hurried, a stark contrast to some of the lazier “free period studiers.”

Lastly, there is the endangered (considered extinct by most) “reader.” For those of you unfamiliar with this type, these are the people who go to the library, take out a book, and (brace yourself) read it. There is no knowing when you will see one of these rare creatures. Some have said that the “reader” only travels in packs, meeting every Sunday in a “book group.” One teacher claimed he once saw a specimen in the McGraw Reading Room one Sunday, but it turned out only to be a student citing a textbook.

These are just a few of the many species our library attracts. There are others—the club-goers, the gamers, the research-paper researchers, etc.—but the groups mentioned above leave the biggest footprint. We’ve all been in one of these categories before, and we’ll almost certainly be in one again before the end of this term. So the next time you find yourself in the library, stop and think for a moment. To which species of library denizen do you belong?