Often, college libraries are portrayed as cold, intimidating buildings where the atmosphere crackles with the tension of exams and homework.
This is not the case at the Pattee Library at Penn State, especially the fifth floor, which houses the Education and Behavioral Sciences Library.
“We have altitude and attitude,” Michael Case, an assistant reference librarian, said referring to the library’s atmosphere, as well as its location on the top floor.
Here, there is one corner of the stacks that is bringing out the kid in everyone.
The Education and Behavioral Sciences Library mainly caters to students studying to become teachers, as well as area educators.
However, the librarians have noticed a new set of students who are visiting the fifth floor.
There is an increasing trend of students visiting the library to check out a juvenile book to learn about a subject they are studying in class, Steven Herb, the head of the Education and Behavioral Sciences Library, said.
He said that many scholars and researchers have written juvenile books. These books offer a good primer for basic knowledge. He likened it to reading an encyclopedia.
Herb said that this trend has been “going on for a while but is increasing.”
Herb also noted that many students learning a second language take advantage of the library’s collection of juvenile books in different languages. The library has picture books in a variety of languages, including Russian, Chinese and Spanish.
“It’s like a discovery floor,” said Case.
Mia Ciasullo and James Song (junior-language education and French) recently experienced this feeling of discovery for the first time.
They were using the library’s resources for a fieldwork project.
“Many people don’t think to come here,” Ciasullo (junior-world language education and applied French) said.
Ciasullo also said she would recommend the fifth floor to her fellow classmates.
Once students have basic knowledge from a juvenile book, Case said the staff works to direct them to additional resources.
Penn State has a wide variety to offer to students. Herb said the Pattee Library houses one of the largest juvenile collections in the state.
Karla Schmit, an assistant librarian, also said many students are drawn to the fifth floor to find a book to read for pleasure. She said many students are interested in the library’s vast collection of fantasy books.
“People have also learned to come up here. It’s cozy, and we try to capitalize on that,” said Case.
Case also described the library’s use of visual displays as a way to entice new visitors.
Case said the library is “innovating by being visual and inviting [the students] and hoping to inspire.”