Your University, One Photo at a Time

University Library from University Avenue [Library Week]

University Library from University Avenue

To answer the question asked yesterday, why students would be around the Main Building and its surroundings after 1am, the simple answer is the University Library, which is open 361 days a year, from 7:15m to 2:00am. A large number students usually file out of the library once 2am approaches, eyes adjusting to the dark after hours of sitting by a computer monitor and/or digesting academic books, slightly jittery from all the caffeine consumed.

With that, I introduce the very first Theme Week here at the Glasgow University Photo blog, Library Week. Every day this week I will show you aspects and findings from the library, together with little factoids and such. The idea of this Theme Week is to take a closer look inside a particular building or aspect of University Life. As it’s summer and the academic year is not in session, I though it would be fitting to kick of the Themes with books and such. This decision might have had something to do with the pile Political Philosophy books on my desk, my summer reading. =)

As you saw on June 2nd, and as you can see even better here, the Glasgow University Library is a very large and imposing building. Modern and striking when it opened its doors on September 30th 1968, it seems more was spent on outside appearance than on the inside. The building complex itself was built in three stages: the main structure (1968), the  Hunterian Art Gallery (1978), and a northern extension to the Library (1980s). The top floor, the 12th floor which houses the Special Collections, was opened in 1997.

In researching the Library on the net, I came across a good example of how one should take everything on Wikipedia with a grain of salt. The entry for the Glasgow University Library has this unsourced sentence within it:

The old Library closed in July 1968 and the new building opened to readers on 30th September 1968, gaining its title as the largest building in the world(Emphasis mine)

Interesting. This naturally launched me off on a curiosity-fueled trek through many corners of ze web in search of anything that would support or contradict this claim. The result? Nothing. The only thing of note that happened in the world on September 30th 1968 was the unveiling of the prototype of the Boeing 747, coincidentally from the largest purpose built factory in the world (Boeing’s Everett Factory). So, true or false? You tell me.

To complement Library Week, we take a step back in time to the 1960s, when the current University Library was built on Gilmorehill. In September 2008 the Special Collections Department of the Library celebrated the 40th anniversary of the current building with a photographic look back at the construction of the building. It provides an interesting look at the then and now, and the transformation of the area in the 1960s. You can check out the photo essay here.

And no, I don’t know why the red man on the traffic lights is crooked.

This post is a part of Library Week (June 22nd – 29th)
Don’t forget to visit the
Library website, their Flickr account, and their blog.

[Poll #2: What is your connection to Glasgow University?]
Click on the photo above for a larger version.
© 2009

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