The W. E. B. Du Bois Library is the largest public academic research library in all of Massachusetts, and the tallest university library in the world. It’s clear from the towering size of the library that it truly is something special. I consider the library to be the North Star of the UMass Amherst campus. If I’m ever lost or slightly confused about my location, I look to the library looming in the horizon to reorient myself. The library is so big, and has so many services that it’s impossible to take advantage of, or even know, all of them. So, I’m going to tell you about some of the coolest floors and services that the library has to offer.
We begin with the basement, which is almost always filled with people studying on the comfy couches. But the basement has more than just study spaces. You can find computers and printers for all to use. The Writing Center is also located down here. If you ever need a pair of fresh eyes to look over a paper, the Writing Center is the place for you. Every single piece of writing can always be improved, and that’s what they’re here to do. The basement also has the IT center, so if you have any computer problems, come here.
The third floor of the library is the Digital Media Lab. Here you can find a large number of tools for any media or recording project. There are two green screen rooms that contain all sorts of cameras and equipment including tripods, professional lights, backdrops, and more. Learning to use this equipment can ensure that any project you’re doing can look very professional. There’s also a sound room with a keyboard, computer, and other important professional recording tools. My friend utilizes this space when creating his music because the production tools are great quality. You can also borrow certain things, like projectors. Last year my floor mates and I borrowed a projector and watched a movie in our lounge with it. It was a ton of fun.
On the tenth floor of the library is the Learning Resource Center. As I’ve discussed before, the LRC has Supplemental Instruction (SI) leaders available for many of the more difficult courses here. But, the LRC also offers other forms of tutoring. Excel sessions are small group tutoring sessions that are great if you need more personal attention. They also have research mentors to help you find research opportunities on and off campus. If you’re strong in a particular academic subject, I recommend applying to work here as they are always looking for new students to help.
Floors 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 20 are all quiet floors for studying. On the 21st floor are the really awesome and popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles statues, gifted to UMass by their co-creator, Peter Laird, who is actually from Northampton and went to UMass Amherst.
Now that I think about it, there are way too many awesome things in the library to talk about in just one post. The best thing you can do though is visit yourself and look around. Don’t restrict yourself to just the parts that everyone goes to. My friends and I decided that as part of our bucket list we would walk from the top of the library down to the bottom floor by stairs and explore each floor. You don’t have to do that, but do take the time to explore just a little and learn all the ways Du Bois Library can help you.