Time spent at the library

On Wednesday, I was driven across campus to the new library to meet the departmental heads who had attended the seminar. This was first time of my not only meeting these women, but seeing them as well. I could only hear in the background female voices talking and working together while I was teaching. Once I got beyond that door I saw a magnificent towering atrium–six or seven stories high–made of glass, marble and steel. The images I posted last time give a sense of the architectural style and grandeur. This recently completed library had not yet been opened by the minister of education and everything was new and untouched.  The building was empty of students. Most striking was the fact that there were no books to be seen except for a shelf of inspirational works on women in the Islamic world, which could be checked out. The library’s collections are stored and are retrieved by a robotic delivery system, much like the one at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Princess Nora’s library spaces are earmarked for future activities like graphic design, academic computing, medical models, and so forth.  I felt disoriented as I had in Las Vegas, though probably less so, since the UNLV was redesigning an existing space rather than creating a new one and you still felt the presence of print books like ghosts in the background.  Meeting my colleagues and talking to them as professionals in a space designed and demarcated as “female” was a surprise. The experience was positive, clannish, intimate…I am not really sure how to describe it.

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