“Pilgrims” at Cambridge University Libraries

  In Cambridge, the library seems to be a more important classroom than the classroom where everyone attends. There may not be classes every day during the week, and there are only three or four hours of class, but looking up materials in the library, borrowing and returning books, copying and typing, it takes up most of the day. Learning to use the library is a university question. The library system of the University of Cambridge is complex, each department or research institute has its own dedicated library, and 31 colleges also have large or small libraries. However, the most famous is the university library with a rich collection of books. It is said that every time a new book is published in the UK, a volume will be sent here for collection.
  The Cambridge University Library has an abrupt appearance, like a bunker and cannon tower during the Civil War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, with rough tiles and bricks standing in a green. After 9/11, it was widely rumored that terrorists moved to the UK, and I always secretly worried that this tall building might be targeted by them and become the next target to be attacked. But as soon as you step into the door of the library, it is a different scene. Every time I push the heavy revolving door, it seems to open the secret passage of history, sliding into the dusty Middle Ages with the fragrance of paper mixed with rotten wood. Ornate Tudor chandeliers crumbling overhead, and the solemn Mr. Librarian always stands behind the counter. He nodded slightly, and you have to quickly take out that precious student card, just like taking out a pass to the magician’s labyrinth. I still remember the first time I walked into this labyrinth, just in front of the orientation map and index of the library in the hall, I stopped for nearly an hour, and finally found that the professional books I learned about economics and management only occupied a large one. Two passages on the sixth and seventh floors of the south wing of the library. The larger space is divided up by subjects such as physics, chemistry, machinery, electronics, medicine, philosophy, history, art, religion, literature of various countries, etc. Old books are also included in the rare book reading room and can only be read in the library. , cannot be lent. Each of these spaces can be called an independent library, but in the Cambridge University library, it can only be an indispensable part. Due to the large number of books in the collection, the speed of adding new bibliography every year has become a heavy and arduous task, and it takes a long time to code and index new books. found in this library.
  Probably the staff of the library also knows that the too rich library collection will deter students. At the beginning of each semester, they will voluntarily hold lectures on the use of the library on various topics, from the most basic introduction to specific materials for a certain major. Consultation and e-reading guidance can be described as meticulous and well-intentioned. Even though I participated in such an activity, I was still at a loss, and I was more and more shocked by the vastness of this labyrinth and the insignificance of my own individual. For me, the university library is more sacred and poetic than other libraries in Cambridge, and I have always believed that here I can get closer to the inner essence of the Cambridge spirit and obtain a purer academic belief.
  The first few trips to the university library seemed to me more like a visit than a borrowing. Walking between the narrow and dark bookshelves, the silent dust on the spine made my breath settle, for fear of disturbing the scholars who were drowning in the sea of ​​books, and even more afraid of disturbing the immortal souls between the pages and under the floor. Walking in the hallway on a fine afternoon is the best thing to do, when my fingertips inadvertently brush the grooves carved into the oak desk hundreds of years ago, and I glance up at the gentle gaze of the huge portrait on the wall, or Lost in the fork, passing through an unknown door and finding my own shadow flowing at the foot of the door, the desire and experience of being one with the library will hit me like an electric current in an instant, I can hardly help but double He fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face with happiness.
  However, most of the time, it is the morning and evening of countless storms and rains, and I wander, looking for those lonely but eternal spirits in the shadows. Holding the cold iron stair railing to go up, there is boundless silence all around, and the sound of shoes touching the iron stairway is even more harsh, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. There is a kind of fear and pleasure of adventure. . There was no one on the upper floor, and the light filtered through the densely packed bookshelves, with a strong musty smell of paper. But it’s such an unpleasant smell that makes me miss it to this day.
  The collections of university libraries are often more dilapidated than those of departmental libraries, presumably because they are older and more borrowed. For the same book, the department collects the latest edition, while the university library holds the earliest edition. When a book was pulled out from the shelf, the fingers might be black, and the dust had eroded into the texture of the book cover for a long time. I always have the illusion that the books here are heavier than those in other libraries. Could it be the weight of dust? Dust is an indispensable part of university libraries, and I suspect that the great souls I have been looking for—the souls of writers and readers, may reside there. As a result, a thin book with two hundred pages was unbearably heavy when weighed in his hand.
  On a gloomy afternoon, I climbed to the sixth floor of the sparsely populated south wing. At the long table by the window, a gentleman with silver-gray hair was sitting at the front. Glancing at his profile from the side, I suddenly felt nervous. Isn’t he the well-respected Professor Wosham in the business school? He was wearing a lavender shirt, engrossed in the stack of books in front of him, like a young student He was burying his head in taking notes, only to hear the rustling sound of his pen rubbing the surface of the paper. I had a momentary urge to go up and chat with him and ask him about his reading experience. But I didn’t do that, and whether it was loud noises or whispers, it seemed obtrusive and redundant in this library. I just walked quietly behind him, a kind of warmth spread quietly in my heart. On such an ordinary day, seeing the teachers I admired so indulge in their studies, this sculptural picture moved me more than any instruction that makes people study diligently.
  However, when the abstract feeling turned into the concrete act of borrowing books, the Cambridge University Library became a treasure trove that really gave me a headache. Perhaps because there are so many books in the library, the way the library’s book codes are arranged is very special, and it is not easy to find books. Inexperienced, I have been struggling to borrow books several times. Mingming found the code of the book to be borrowed on the Internet, and knew that it was lying obediently in a corner of the library waiting for me to borrow it, but I couldn’t find its hiding place. When I was lucky, I met a good-hearted person who was familiar with the index and was enthusiastic to guide me, and I found it in the dim light. When the luck is bad, the person who asks for help has no clue. Sometimes the gray-haired old gentleman squinted his eyes and searched the bookshelves for me. If he couldn’t find it, he blushed. He was even sadder than me, as if they were right. Live like me.
  Despite all the troubles, in my memory, the university library is always associated with the purest beauty. From the department to the university library, you have to pass through the empty Queen’s Road. Time and time again, the majestic chapel of King’s College suddenly slams into my line of sight, unsuspecting. I still remember the shock the first time it slammed into my eyes. It was a sunny day, and in the soft sunlight, the chapel was also dyed gold. Tall, solemn, and quietly standing in a green field, it seems to be the population of heaven. If you go to the library from the college, you have to turn into a long and narrow green path. The plants on both sides are so dense that a curved flower shed is almost erected, and there are always colorful and unnamed wild flowers in full bloom proudly at the feet. Whether it’s riding a bike hurriedly past Queen’s Road, or quietly walking down the green trail leading to the university library, I always have the heart of a “pilgrim” in my heart.
  ”Pilgrims” are no better term than those who climbed the ladder of knowledge.

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