Gather round ye good folk of Hirsh Library, for I hae something most odd and chilling to share with ye today. You may have heard whispers round the misty paths of the Boston campus, tales of strange beasts that dwell round the depths of the Library Service Desk.

Surely these creatures are but a myth? Or there is some scientific explanation for these rumors? An errant algal bloom from the Charles River. Mirages that appear before the eyes of exhausted students after they pull all-nighters. A flock of pigeons overfed on leftover pizza…

Nae, ‘tis none of these, and I’m sorry to say ‘tis no legend either. These are the creatures known collectively as THE BLOCK. And, disturbingly, sightings are on the rise.

Descendants of the great dragons of old, these four mystic beings are charged with guarding a hoard most valuable to all of us here who seek knowledge—the reserve collection. Under the ancient contract, these precious items—a collection of such goodly things as skulls, books, and laptops—may be lent freely to all those Tuftonians who might need them, for a period of four hours. If the borrower requires the item longer, it will be gladly be lent out for four hours more, provided they visit the Desk and kindly request a renewal.

Those who are vigilant and heed the timings of return need not fear THE BLOCK. But those misfortunate souls who keep things past due will attract the gaze of the creatures and incur their curse.

The First Block is tricky—it will catch you when first you let your guard down—but it is the most lenient of the quartet. The first time you forget to return an item in time, the First Block will bar you from borrowing for period four and twenty hours. Luckily, once this period has passed, it will not begrudge you a future loan.

Should you be careless and hold on to an item late for a second time, the Second Block will rise, with a harsher resolve than its fellow, and prevent you from borrowing for one week’s time.

Have you seen these two? Sightings are common, unfortunately, and while they should best be avoided, you can be hopeful that your experience will end with them.

Alas, there are those forget the lessons and power of the first two Blocks, and dare keep items late for a third time, thenceforth summoning the Third Block. The Third Block is resentful of being awakened from its sleep and will prevent you from borrowing items for one full month. It will also send a message on the wind to your Dean, notifying them of your failure to abide by the rules of the borrowing contract.

I cannae bear discussing the last creature. Truly, I shudder to share what will happen should you dare cross the monstrous Fourth Block. The most ancient and fearsome of all the Blocks, it has the longest memory and enacts the most rigid penalty of all. Should you keep items late for a fourth time, the Fourth Block shall rise from the murky depths of its cubic lair and prevent you from borrowing items for the rest of the semester. Once again, your Dean shall hear of your grave offence.

Sightings of the fearsome third and fourth blocks are on the rise and this is most distressing news to us.

Please, heed my warnings. Keep your wits about you! These creatures are old and their memories long. Remember, even if you summon the first Block in July, the other Blocks will remember all the way through the following June. ‘Tis a nasty surprise to forget your autumnal encounters with Blocks One and Two and be faced with the Third Block on a bonny day in May.

I entreat you, take my words to heart and readily share them with your fellows. Our wish is that all may use the Reserve collection in good health and good cheer, with nary a worry that they should ever face an encounter with a Block.

For the facts behind the fantasy, please visit our Reserve Policy page.

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