As physical visits to Fletcher aren’t currently possible, this series attempts to provide the next best thing in the form of a blog-based virtual tour. Today we’ll spend some time in the intellectual nerve-center of Fletcher, Ginn Library.
Some Fletcher students might feel like they spend pretty much all their time in Ginn Library, or at least trawling its wealth of virtual resources in our remote environment. It makes a lot of sense that Ginn is a focal point of student life at Fletcher, and it’s much more than dusty old stacks of books. A space for quiet study, a few sotto voce group meetings, a variety of research and study support resources, and yes, the occasional nap or Netflix study break, Ginn is rivaled perhaps only by the Hall of Flags as the core Fletcher space.
“Ginn” is most commonly pronounced with a hard “g,” though you’ll hear the occasional “gin” (“djinn?”), perhaps putting some in the mood for a cocktail or in fear of the Wishmaster. Ginn is probably the most versatile area of Fletcher, offering a variety of spaces for multiple needs. The three floors of stacks are among the most traditionally library-like areas, offering not only an extensive trove of hard-to-find international affairs literature, but loads of study carrels and out-of-the-way corners for those whose study habits are more akin to hibernation. There are several larger reading and study spaces, too, most prominently the main Reading Room, commonly dubbed the Harry Potter Room (seriously, it has everything but the floating candles). It’s a strictly quiet space with loads of seating, and those not distracted by the grandeur may find it ideal for getting some serious work done. As needed, the Reading Room also works beautifully for certain events: clear out these tables and you’ve got a perfect spot for faculty lectures and book talks, Board of Advisors meetings, and orientation events.
Ginn has lots of other notable spaces and features, both functional and aesthetic. While Fletcher does offer a separate computer lab, Ginn has a significant stable of open computer stations available for students, and is a primary spot for student printing needs, too. It’s also home to the Fletcher Perspectives Gallery, a student-curated photo collection showcasing the various travels of community members.
It’s impossible to cover everything about Ginn in a single post, but even a non-comprehensive look at this part of Fletcher would under-serve readers without a mention of the fantastic library staff. The true richness of Ginn is in the expertise of its personnel, both in helping students find the library resources they need and in the variety of programming they offer. The Fletcher writing center, research and citation support, and a variety of technology troubleshooting and user resources are all available courtesy of the Ginn staff. Did I also mention that they support all classroom technology needs at Fletcher, including the shift to a remote teaching environment during a global pandemic? The Ginn staff is the definition of indispensable.
I encourage readers to check out the Ginn website for a deeper dive into all the library offers!