Morris Library in August 2013Over two million books in there, all with one thing in common: I never took any of them out! Okay, I might’ve photocopied a page or two and printed something off of microfiche, but I think that be it.
Morris Library was built in 1963, however the library we all know and (possibly) love didn’t exist until 1986; that was when UD spent $14 million to double the space. As I understand it, it was a nightmare trying to get any work done in there during that '85 - '86 construction year. But hey, it was worth it. Morris Library is like, way nice. Particularly the atrium. Even though I barely studied in there.
DELCAT is the thing you’d use internally in the library, to look up books and stuff. It was new for the '87 - '88 school year, and then by 2002 it became a web-based application (so you could access it from anywhere). I can’t believe how boring this paragraph is.
The Video Stations in the basement. When I took a tour of UD -- this had to be 1990 (oofa) -- I have to credit my tour guide for selling me on Delaware. Real cool dude, tell-it-like-it-is. One thing I remember him talking about is the video selection downstairs in the library. He was like, “Yeah, so, I'll like go to the library, study for twenty minutes, go downstairs and watch Back to the Future, go upstairs, study for twenty minutes, go downstairs, and watch Goonies, go...” And I was like, “Um, yep. That's me. Mom, Dad, I’d like to go to Delaware, please.” Academically speaking, I do remember having to watch a tape downstairs in the library for an Art History class; the prof would show slides in class, and if you missed, they were available on tape.
Checking your bag on the way out. Remember this? On your way out, they had to make sure you weren’t ripping anything off, so they’d check your bag. "Hey, I already had this beer in my backpack, when I walked in!"
“Club Morris” has in more recent years, become the Morris Library’s unofficial nickname, due to the social scene (and lighting!) in there. No word yet if they’re gonna introduce bottle service.
Rumor: Rub the nose on Hugh Morris' bust for good luck on your next exam.
Dude, this is: Absolutely true. It works! I even ran a scientific, controlled experiment: this one wicked hard class I had, I didn’t rub Hugh’s nose before the first exam, and got a C. Before the second exam, I did indeed rub Hugh’s nose, and got an A. I must also mention that during that second exam, I slipped the TA twenty bucks.
“Morris and I didn't get along. I took books out for my thesis, and I was scared that if I returned one necessary one, they wouldn't re-shelve it properly or in time. I took it back to the library, but I actually hid it. So, it was there, just not checked in. That was my logic. Don't ask why I thought it was sound.
Flash forward to post graduation. I kept getting notices about the missing book and requests to send them over $100 as a penalty. I refused on principle. Finally, I called them to say that I had returned (i.e. hidden) the book. They told me that they were just about to go to a collection agency on me! After fighting with them, they looked to their internal records, and found that they had the book all along! Could you imagine? While I was a complete idiot for hiding a book in the library from the library, they were terrible for pursuing a collection agency to come after me just because of their own errors!”
- Laura B, UD '05
“Spring '06, I was at the Library Commons around finals week and a deer, YES a DEER ran into the door! There was blood everywhere on the glass! Then it just laid there outside the door licking its wounds before taking off down the Green. It scared the shit out of everyone in there! People did not know what to do, so stood around in a circle and watched it until it took off. It was the talk for the rest of the day on campus. Poor thing.”
- Angela J, UD '07
“Senior year I worked at the Morris Library circulation desk and periodicals room. I got to read a lot of books, hang out with my friends, and almost didn't let President Roselle take out a newspaper from the periodicals room, because he didn't have his ID -- in my defense, I didn't know it was him!”
- Brenda, UD '02
“The library message board! I can't tell you how many hours it took to make a study group work! First, at least two students had to show up early and hunt down a room or table that was empty. That could take FOREVER. Once you actually found it in some obscure, dark corner of the library (that you weren't even sure you were allowed to be in), you had to stake your claim by leaving behind backpacks, clothing, jackets, and a sacrificial person (who would end up sitting alone for twenty minutes, defending your new territory from other would-be-studiers).
Then you would have to make a mad dash back to the message board so you could notify your other study group members of WHERE you actually were. That, however, was no easy feat. The library is a big place, and there are lots of places to hide. You had to leave a detailed schematic of the library for your friends, a treasure map to the study room.
Lastly, you had to make that note NOTICEABLE. The message board filled up fast toward finals. So you took fifteen pieces of scrap paper and a Sharpie, wrote one letter of their name on each piece, pinned them up neatly to the message board, and nodded proudly at your masterpiece. Then you would sprint back to the third floor dark corner and wait patiently for the other people to show up. It required some SERIOUS planning and a team of ninjas to pull off that message board!”
- Kristin A, UD '02
“1988, outside the Morris Library on the steps at 4 AM, on my way to a ‘Come As You Are, Party 'Til Dawn’ party. Was not the most comfortable place it's ever happened. I think I remember my butt freezing to the metal railing.”
- Jen, UD '93
(Digger’s Note: Yes, plenty of UD kids have banged IN the actual library -- in the study rooms, bathrooms, etc. -- but I had trouble getting permission to print any of their stories! Hmmmm.)
From a 1991 UD publication, but photo is probably from the mid to late '80sWell, I could’ve easily dropped this subsection into our next chapter (on the South Mall), but most people reference the below in relation to the Morris Library. So, here we go!
The Library “Octagon” was in the walkway, that runs straight from the library steps. It was dead center of the walkway, so it was aligned visually with the southern entrance to Memorial Hall. Yes, it was an octagonal shaped thing, that was wider that the actual path, and was also bound by these low brick walls. Additionally, they had wood benches built right into it. Sitting on those walls or benches; great place to chill out between classes, or wait to meet up with friends. The octagon was removed, and changed to just a straight brick walkway, circa '03. I miss the octagon, but do think it made sense to scrap it…see next chapter!
The Tree. For a long stretch, there was a nice pine tree living right in the middle of the Library Octagon. UD even ran tree lighting ceremonies from at least 1975 to 1987, with as many as 600 people attending. And then I think I remember the tree being lit (sans ceremony) until at least Christmas '91, which was my first semester. But wait! Fall 1993: The tree is GONE! Relocated next to Allison Hall, with UD offering no real explanation why. The spot where the tree was in the octagon was then just dirt.
As remembered by SHS, UD '96:
“I was working at the library at the time when the tree came down. I believe they always said they took it down for safety reasons, that it made it difficult to monitor that part of campus. (Of course, one would wonder since it took them forever to do something about the Pencader bike path.)
Soon after -- maybe a week or two -- there was a small tree in its place. As the story goes, two undergrads replaced the cut down tree with a new one out of protest. Eventually it was removed.”
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