Malpass Library: More than the Stacks

The Malpass library is the beating heart of academia at WIU. Standing tall at the center of campus, the library is so much more than just a building; it’s a home.

I have worked at the library for the past three years, and during that time I’ve learned everything there is to know about what she has to offer. Between the library collection, the branch libraries, course reserve and two different types of interlibrary loan, I haven’t paid for a textbook unless I wanted to keep it for myself since Sophomore year- it’s a lifesaver as an English major when you have three lit classes and a total of 42 books to get for the semester.


The view from the center of the atrium is the best on campus

In addition to physical books, the technological resources and academic support systems are amazing.  With access to thousands of online journals and the MLA database it’s rare that I have trouble finding scholarship on a topic, and if I do the reference librarians are there to point me in the right direction. With digital commons I was able to rent equipment and use editing programs that would have otherwise cost me hundreds of dollars, and I learned skills through those programs that are going to be indispensable in my future career. The writing center is an incredibly helpful tool during the process of writing term papers, applying for grad schools, and preparing CVs and cover letters for the professional world. As English majors, it’s also a great place to get a job relevant to our future careers (plus everyone’s super nice and it’s a great environment in which to spend your time).

All of these resources are important, and without them my WIU experience would have been much more difficult. However, the library is more than a tool I can use to learn and grow; for me it has become my home. Memories of shifting books with summer sun streaming through the giant windows have become intertwined in the journey of discovering my love for graphic novels. Every day I get to give recommendations and share my passion with budding literature enthusiasts and veterans alike. Every book and plant, every brick, every nook and cranny, every napping spot and every beautiful view has become a part of who I am today. The people I work with are my family, and the patrons I help every day stay with me. Seeing the library for the past few years from behind the scenes has changed the way I see academia, and as someone hoping to become a professor one day that is incredibly important. The library is alive in its own way (more than just the haunted elevators or the occasional roach). It boosts careers, expands worldviews, and changes lives every day, and it is something which should be celebrated.