At the start of the Fall semester, Columbia University Libraries launched the Library Passport program, which encourages Columbia students to explore library spaces, services, and resources in a fun and self-paced way. Participants were asked to visit as many library locations as possible to learn about the resources available in each library and receive a stamp in their Library Passport. Students who visited all locations were entered to win an iPad, and in mid-October, Sofia Jen Ouyang, ’24CC, was announced as the winner. Here, Sofia shares her favorite library spaces, “hidden gems” in the Libraries, and how the Library Passport program has helped her coursework. (Students are welcome to continue to participate in the Library Passport program – and stay tuned for future drawings and more prizes!)
Which of the libraries that you visited was your favorite and why?
Before participating in the Library Passport Program, I have always liked Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library and C.V. Starr East Asian Library, but now my favorite library is probably the Social Work Library. I love that it has an intimate space, great natural light, and a view of Amsterdam Avenue (with some couches directly facing the window). The library felt a little further than the libraries on the main campus, so I never knew about it until this program. So very glad to have discovered it!
Did you learn anything surprising or unexpected about the Libraries as you worked through the program?
Totally! Learning about the “hidden gems” of each library was interesting, and I was surprised by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library in Butler. Even though I have always known of it, to see it in person was quite different. It is such an unfamiliar and fascinating space, even though I would come Butler every other day.
How long did it take you to complete the program? Why did you choose to participate?
It took me about three weeks to complete the program, mostly because I made the commute to Health & Sciences Library a few weeks in. I chose to participate because I wanted to discover new study spaces and was curious what the different libraries looked like, and this program was a wonderful initiative to do exactly that.
Has anything that you learned about the Libraries impacted your coursework? If so, how?
I learned to better navigate the Libraries’ website from the online scavenger hunt, which turned out to be quite helpful. For example, I did not know about the “Services and Tools” sections and that we can request to stream films as well as get free New York Times subscriptions.
Would you encourage other students to try the passport program? If so, why?
Yes! It’s a fun and rewarding experience to check out all the libraries you haven’t been to before and learn about each library’s collections and particularities.