When I went to Los Angeles, I stayed with my friend who lives there. Unfortunately, after I had purchased my plane ticket, he found out that his brother won tickets to go to SXSW on Friday 3/18. This meant that he had to be on a 9:00am flight that day which was a whole 14.5 hours before my flight was due to takeoff. What was I going to do? I couldn’t drive anywhere by myself because I didn’t know any directions nor did I have a car. Also, there wasn’t any public transportation (see An East Coast Guy in Los Angeles). I wasn’t going to sit by myself in his house all day because not only is that a waste of a vacation day, it’s downright weird. Lucky for me, his mom offered to drive me to where she worked so I could spend the day there. Even luckier was the fact that she worked at UCLA. So I woke up at 10:00am, she picked me up at 11:00am, gave me a campus map with some interesting buildings highlighted (one of them being the math building, obviously) and sent me on my way.
I wandered around the UCLA campus for about 2 hours and let me tell you it is gorgeous. Similar to BU in the fact that it’s a university in a city, it actually has a campus as opposed to a street that is considered a campus i.e. Commonwealth Avenue. The views were stunning, the buildings were clean and beautiful pieces of architecture (on the outside anyway, the inside of the math building looked just as plain and dreary as our own building), and the amount of open space was incredible. I went into the Ackerman Student Union where I bought an iced coffee at a coffee shop, which was right across from a place where you can play online video games on huge screens for a nominal fee. This union also had a lot more space and different stores than the GSU (except they had a Panda Express thus proving it’s mandatory for all college student unions to have one).
I ended my visit to UCLA by going into, what else, but their major library there. The Powell Library (or College Library as they call it) is the UCLA equivalent to our very own Mugar Library. However, Powell and Mugar are far from equal. On the outside, Powell looks like a beautiful brick sentinel who watches over the students lounging in the courtyard by its entrance with its partner Royce Hall across the way. The stone steps were clean and void of not only smokers but also the dark black spit stains they leave behind. When you enter the building, you enter into a small room reminiscent of a hotel lobby with stairs in front of you and on either side. To my right was a room only UCLA students could get into (using swipe access) and it reminded me of our PAL lounge. This room, called Night Powell, is open when the rest of the library closes at 11:00pm and stays open to allow students to study in a library setting until 2:00am. However, this is the only room that stays open which means the stacks and CLICC (see below) are closed. In addition, there are specific rooms located in Night Powell that are strictly for group study allowing people to talk and discuss without disturbing other students (however, these must be reserved in advance). If instead we took the stairs on our left we would arrive at the College Library Instructional Computing Commons (or CLICC) where you can get help with your computer or use one of the many computers in there to do work. However, if you want to print anything out it will cost you 10 cents per page! (And we complained that we lost some of our print quota while these guys don’t have any). They also do not have double sided printing so a 10-page document would cost a dollar as opposed to 50 cents if they had double sided printing. However, you can use your BruinCard to pay for these print jobs, which is similar to using convenience points. Furthermore, scanning costs UCLA students 16 cents per exposure, which is a free service at Mugar.
After checking out CLICC, I decided to look around the stacks of books. I mostly wandered around the stacks on the first floor trying to find my way around because the library was very confusing and oddly laid out. I had given up with trying to find my way around when I stumbled upon a map. However, unlike the maps in Mugar which are only located by the elevators, these maps were laminated pieces of paper that you could take with you as you wandered around. The only stipulation with this was that you must return this map to its original spot or to one of the many other receptacles that held maps scattered throughout the library. On the second floor of the library was located the reference desk, circulation desk, offices, classrooms, and the main reading room where students can come and study or just read (which is similar to much of Mugar). Also located on this floor was a section dedicated to graphic novels, which this nerd found awesome! That was about all that was located on the second floor. The third floor, which is the top floor, only had a few classrooms in it and that’s it.
So what is my final opinion on Powell (College) Library? Well, it might have some interesting aspects to it that Mugar doesn’t have, and it also might look nicer on the outside and inside than Mugar, however I don’t think the services it provides can match Mugar library. They have far fewer stacks of books located in the library, you have to pay a large amount of money to print something, and there wasn’t as much study space. Overall, I think I would take Mugar over Powell any day. Besides, Powell doesn’t have Recycle Guy!