An unnamed staff writer was inspired by the strange late-night sounds and noises in the stacks while writing a Greek history research paper and started thinking: what if someone is having sex on a book she needs in the stacks? Here are the results of her pondering.
Here is the scenario. It’s 2:37am on a Tuesday night. You’re in the stacks – say, level 7. You have a 20 page paper about Thucydides and human nature to write. You have a list of 8 books you need scattered all throughout the stacks of Butler Library. You look them up, one by one, on library.columbia.edu, and write down their call numbers. According to the call number guide, you have to go to stacks level 8, 5, and 3. You go to level 8 and pick up the books you need. Check 3 off your list. You go to level 5. There are still a few people working. Feeling a vague sense of camaraderie, you check another book off your list. Then you head down to level 3.
You open the staircase door. It’s empty, and eerily quiet. Until it isn’t. There is a squeak that echoes around the bookshelves and reaches your tired ear. You dismiss it, thinking you’re hearing things at last. You look at the map of the shelves of the stack level, and mentally note the shelf you need to get to. It’s sort of in a dark, remote corner, and you book seems to be in that little dead zone right where a short shelf is kind of lodged between two walls in a way that makes it so that you wouldn’t really just happen to pass by that shelf unless you were deliberately looking for something there, as you are, right now. The book you’re looking for is a little niche, and probably hasn’t been checked out for at least a decade; it’s called Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History.
Anyway, you located the general shady area that the book is in, and walk over. You hear more squeaks. You hear a vague noise that sounds like books hitting each other softly. Or perhaps it’s the sound of three or four books simultaneously being slightly lifted off the shelf and being let down again. Quiet pants. Maybe even a moan. It sounds kinda like…sex. You step forward a few steps quietly. Yep, definitely. Sex. Someone having sex. In the stacks. At 2:52am. On a Tuesday night. You turn back and walk out of the immediate area and think. Based on the direction of the sounds, it kinda sounded like the sex was happening on the literal shelf you need to get to.
You stand and think. What do you do? Do you really need this in your life right now? Is this paper due tomorrow? Do you really want to accidentally see a dick right now? You decide that your poor self had enough for today. You say to yourself, fuck it, and you go back to stacks level 7, pack up, leave the other books you already found carefully arranged on your spot, and resolve to come back tomorrow.
Stacks via Youngweon Lee