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Secrets of Thompson Library (Pt. II)

 Written by    April 15, 2019

This is a continuation in the saga of how to access books from Thompson.

How do I navigate the library’s website?
Honestly I’m still figuring this out myself. For example, I wanted to read a book by Stephen King because I’ve never read Stephen King before. So I searched the library database by author. However it showed only one book was available … at Newark.

I find it hard to believe that Ohio State does not a single book by Stephen King. So maybe the library search engine is kind of wonky, or maybe I’m not searching in the best place.

Anyway I was able to check out Stephen King through the Columbus Metro Library loan collection, and after I finished it I searched the library’s website again, this time for a newer fiction book, Little Fires Everywhere.

But, even stranger, the database told me this book was only available in the Charvat Collection of American Literature.

What is the Charvat Collection of American Literature?
Good question.

There is a room opposite the circulation desk on the first floor of Thompson — suite 119 — which houses the Charvat Collection of American Literature. I entered one door and looked through a second glass door, confused. Two men at the front desk saw me and buzzed me in.

I explained I was looking for Little Fires Everywhere and was hoping to check it out. They said that books in this collection couldn’t be checked out but read only in this room. They handed me an information sheet and application form, which they said I could complete and turn in. One of the desk assistants said I could make an appointment and come back to view the book once my application was approved.

Apparently the books in this collection are for research, but I found this peculiar because the book I wanted to read didn’t seem like anything special. Office hours for books? Weird.

The information sheet I received, entitled “Policies governing the use of materials,” forbids eating, drinking, gum chewing and even using pens. You even have to keep all personal belongings outside of the room in the provided lockers.

While I’m not sure I’ll be back to read Little Fires Everywhere, I was surprised to learn about the Charvat Collection and happy to find out about something interesting I’d never heard of before.

Learn more about the history of the Charvat Collection or William Charvat.

You can pick up these forms to access the Charvat Collection in their office, 119 Thompson. (PHOTO BY KAPCAR)

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