Although our concession stand wasn’t selling peanuts and crackerjacks, our souvenir shop wasn’t selling hats and gear, and we didn’t have a crowd singing along to “Sweet Caroline” during the 7th inning stretch, we do have a few stories that make the opening worthwhile. I wanted to share some feedback I received from students and staff that left me feeling excited and inspired for the future of Countway.
Our first reservation was a third-year medical student. As MJ walked her to her study seat in the Russell Reading Room, the student stopped to simply “take it all in.” She was overwhelmed and in complete awe of the newly renovated spaces. With tears in her eyes, she explained how grateful she was to have somewhere else besides her dorm room to sit, study, and relax. She didn’t mind the last-minute construction work at all. In fact, she loved seeing the behind the scenes work to the magnificent final product. She expressed that having Countway open and available to students, even if the building is not completely turned over, had her feeling more connected to the community than ever. She thanked us for welcoming her into our “home” before the party officially started. Seeing the last minute preparations shed light on all the detail and dedication it took to make the library the space that it is right now. She was beyond words and extremely grateful for Countway re-opening. And for that, I too am grateful.
The next reservation was a fifth-year medical student. He needed a place to unwind and wait as he was scheduled for his COVID vaccine later in the evening. He stayed in a hotel the previous night and was planning on waiting in his car for 5 hours since check-out time was in the morning and his vaccine appointment was at night. He mentioned that it is difficult and basically impossible to find a coffee shop to sit and pass time. The library re-opening is more than a study space for students. It is a home and a safe space.
It was also nice to hear feedback from Countway staff this week. Everyone seemed to love and appreciate the new building. Elizabeth Bueso mentioned that after 26 years of working at Countway, she was thrilled to enter through the new entrance on Huntington Ave. Something so small like tapping her ID through the turn styles was exciting. It’s exciting for me too! She had a moment similar to the first student where she simply had to stop and take it all in.
We have experienced the power of the Countway space to welcome us, comfort us. and inspire us these opening days. 2020 was a transformational year. Despite the many challenges that we continue to face as a country, the library re-opening gives the Longwood community a new, refreshing, and positive environment in which to work, study, and do research. Countway hit a home run!