There is a tradition that has been practiced on the grounds of colleges and universities across the country since long before webpages, Wikipedia, and apps existed.
If done right it can lead to new discoveries, stimulating ideas, diverse perspectives, groundbreaking realizations, and a newfound appreciation for how the past influences the present.
In fact, there is almost a guarantee that practitioners will be different at the end of their undertaking the tradition than they were at the beginning, for the opportunities to broaden one’s worldview, sensibilities, and knowledge are nearly endless.
Here at Wheelock, the secret tradition is practiced between the bookcases at the Library and it involves nothing more than taking the time to browse the treasures that have been collected over the years and continue to be collected today to capture and make available the intellectual output of the scholars, authors, and visionaries in the various disciplines taught here at the College.
This simple act of walking through the stacks and interacting with the contents not only provides a welcome escape from the various screens constantly demanding our attention, but it lets one engage in the joyful discovery of information without distraction, defined purpose, or specific need. Indeed, it trains one to embrace one of the most worthwhile activities possible, which is to pursue knowledge for its own sake.
To help facilitate and encourage this tradition, we here at the Library are in the midst of changing the labels on the end of the stacks throughout the collection by replacing the simple call number designations with descriptions of the disciplines each call number range represents. Soon, everyone will be free to identify and roam the ranges of their favorite discipline or a discipline that has piqued their curiosity.
I leave it to you, the reader, to take advantage of these new labels and this tradition and explore our collections. With any luck, you will come to how enriching this simple activity can be for the mind and soul. Lastly, don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments!