Students and alumni reflect on, reminisce about Sawyer Library

Sawyer’s monkey carrels  are home to hard work and hijinks. Christian Ruhl/Photo editor.
Sawyer’s monkey carrels are home to hard work and hijinks. Christian Ruhl/Photo editor.

Sawyer is the worst place on the College’s campus. The building itself is a gateway into some sort of strange ’70s, riot-proof, architectural hell. Why isn’t there a bathroom on the first floor? Why do I get lost every time I try to find a bathroom? Why does the building seem like it was specifically designed to keep me from finding the bathroom? Why the depressingly low ceilings and oppressive use of concrete? Why are all the windows so small? The only large windows are the ones that face inward, so we can get even more lovely views of its many brick façades.

Besides that, the actual function of the building is a library. A library! Now don’t get me wrong, in the real world libraries are great places. They are pretty and full of comfortable couches, natural sunlight and big windows. You enter them willingly to read books and magazines that you might enjoy. Or, if you were born more than 40 years ago, the library might be a place you go to find the Internet and use computers.

But at the College, very few visits to the library are made voluntarily. Students go there against their free will to make themselves miserable, because being miserable is the most efficient way to be maximally productive. So at the College, in my humble opinion, libraries are generally a place of misery. I know some students would disagree with this opinion, and to those students I would recommend getting a life.

I am first and foremost a professional, however, with the utmost journalistic integrity. So I did some research on good things about Sawyer. There is a @savesawyer Twitter, where some of Sawyer’s good qualities are pointed out, like the fact that “fluorescent lights make every homework assignment feel like an alien autopsy.” I will admit that is cool.

There is also a website called Sawyer Memories, on which alums write the things they remember about Sawyer. One alumnus, John Legaré Williams ’98, remembers that he “browsed the web for the first time in Sawyer using a Yahoo directory.” Another alumnus, Erryn Leinbaugh ’99, “once fell asleep in Sawyer, got confused, and accidently used a women’s bathroom.” He’s a man. Terri Williams ’88, really got wild in Sawyer and once “knocked [over a] full shake and it splattered all over another student who was passing by!” Way to get crazy, Terri! This building has been on a college campus for 40 years, and these are the highlights that were so titillating that alumni went back online to write about them. Please knock this building down.

I hereby recommend a bucket list for our remaining days with Sawyer to hopefully surpass Terri’s brazen shenanigans. I will not admit which items I have and have not done:

1. Have sex in the monkey carrels. 2. Catch a wild animal. Release it in Sawyer basement on a Sunday morning. Bird would be good. Or badger. 3. Picnic on the roof of Sawyer. 4. Stay overnight. 5. Pull the fire alarm.

In my hometown in Michigan, I once saw an elderly man watching porn in the public library. And it was terrible! But you want to know what’s worse? What’s worse is the fact that in a sexually-repressed college environment, I have never seen

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anyone watching porn in Sawyer. Schow? Totally. I’ve seen lots of people watching porn in Schow. But Sawyer? It literally sucks the life, the soul and even the libido of the students who enter that god-forsaken place.

I want a sexy library. A library where I can go and not study that much. A library where I want to try to sneak in and find a sneaky place to make out. Not a library that makes all of life seem meaningless. Admittedly, I make a point to enter Sawyer as little as possible. I will personally enter the building for the following four reasons only: 1. Mandatory research sessions. 2. Roofing. 3. If my printer runs out of ink and I need to print something. 4. Streaking. (I would like to note that the librarians are actually great. When I need a book, they get me in and out of that black hole from which no happiness can escape in the minimum amount of time possible. The librarians also demonstrate a baffling ability to work in that place and still retain the ability to smile. I respect that.)

In my younger years, before security started buying heftier padlocks, I used to enjoy getting on the roof of Sawyer. Nighttime picnics were fun, as was getting drunk with friends and yelling “nerd” at anyone who entered the library. Is there a statute of limitations on that kind of stuff? Because if there is not, then I would like to note that this has been a hypothetical paragraph. Looking at you, Dave Boyer.

There are also entirely unconfirmed rumors swirling around that All Campus Entertainment may be able to throw a huge, destructive, end-of-the-year rager in Sawyer. This sounds like it might actually be capable of creating more happiness and fun in that building in one night than the structure has ever seen. Letting people paint the walls, break things and generally have all of the fun of anarchy. As a political science major, I have always been fascinated by anarchy and would be fully in favor of this regression to our natural state. You know, for science. And also because it might give the current Williams classes a chance to spice up that Sawyer memories website.