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Herring-Cole Rennovation

While there are already articulate descriptions of the renovation of Herring-Cole Library facilitated by the gift from Jay and Valerie Ireland (both ’77), what we in the LIT division would like to highlight is the focus on maintaining Herring-Cole as a quiet text-centered space. What we have in the restored Cole Reading Room is balance. The expectation and surroundings encourage quiet, individual study, reading, and work juxtaposed with the 21st century reality of student’s digital lifestyle. Thus the beautiful furniture, the elegant desk lamps, the century old books on the shelves upstairs balance the WiFi networking and the in-table power which students are always seeking. One of the great one line explications of the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson is his own assertion, “I like the silence in the church before the service much better than any preaching,” which speaks to the contemplative mind that is the goal of the Liberal Arts. Quiet amidst the digital transmission of academic discourse is a tangible part of a student’s development—in The Power of Silence Graham Turner quotes April Pierrot of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on the silence essential to an actor’s success:

It’s that inner silence which enables an actor to both listen to an audience and, at the same time, be present in a performance. Then they’re rapt, absorbed—and that quality of raptness in a performer is something that transmits itself to an audience, if they’re receptive and perceptive.

You can see a student late at night by the light of the lamp and laptop rapt, quiet, finding that inner silence while they bring their personality to bear on what they are reading, what they are understanding. Finding their voice, and readying it to bring to receptive and perceptive faculty and fellow students—this is the goal that the setting in Herring-Cole is perfecting set to facilitate.

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~ by pdoty on September 2, 2014.

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