December's Stacks in the City: C. V. Starr East Asian Library
Location: Columbia University's Kent Hall (home to the Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department and the East Asian Languages and Cultures department)
What's in this Stack? More than 810,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Mongol, Manchu, and Western-languages; over 6,600 periodical titles; and more than 55 newspaper titles.
Despite four years of attending Columbia College and two additional years of living in New York City, I must admit that this was my first time ever in this library, and man, was it interesting! While walking through the lower levels of these stacks, I felt like I was in a different country. I don’t think I saw one title in English. However, it was a tad bit eerie since I was the only down there; I almost expected samurai to jump out at me.
In addition to all of the fascinating materials and long-standing traditional literature, I also found it interesting to know that the library actually used to be the Columbia University Law Library and that the wooden cabinet opposite the main entrance was built for the Japanese Pavilion of the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.
Next task: learning an Asian language so I can actually read at least one of those book titles.
— Carly M., STACKS Staffer