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Onward Debates: Which Side Of The Library Is The Front?

Ah, the library. A place of productivity procrastination.

Thousands of students wander in and out of Pattee and Paterno each day, and whether you’ve tried to find an open seat or just speed-walked to your next class, all of us have come and gone through two specific entrances: the doors on Curtin and the revolving doors on Pattee Mall. But which entrance is the front of the library?

Some might say the functionality of the East entrance on Curtin makes for the most logical front entrance. Others argue that the aesthetic and facade of Pattee Mall make it the perfect front. So, which is it?

Sarah Baumann: Curtin Road

When I think of a front entrance, I think of one that’s easily accessible. The entrance on Curtin is definitely the front of the library.

First off, when you walk past the library or hop off the Bloop at the east Pattee Transit, you’re not walking up to the back of the building. The glass windows and silhouettes of students in the Stacks are all facing the road.

Once you get up to the entrance, the concrete columns, ornate lamp posts and sign above the doors reading “Pattee Library and Paterno Library” are dead giveaways that you’re entering the main part of the building.

The steps next to the FRONT entrance lead down toward the Burrowes Building and the Mall. Take those steps and you’re no longer walking toward the library. You’re walking away from it.

Once you venture into the library, the atrium area is much nicer than the one through the revolving back doors. When you enter the side from Curtin, you’re met with a more updated area, one that people would see when they enter the main portion. Not to mention Foster Auditorium is to the left, and Starbucks is only a few steps away. Why would you put something like that towards the back? Well…you wouldn’t.

I’m not sure who said landscaping is a qualification for a front entrance, but that’s just not true. The Pattee Mall makes for a nice backyard with its pretty green space and brightly colored flowers. That’s because it’s insulated by academic buildings and walking paths. I wouldn’t put a garden on the main road either. The foliage and flower pots add just the right amount of green at the front.

But if none of this is enough to convince you, let me end by asking you this. Do you consider the doors facing the HUB Lawn the front? NO!! Even though the back of the HUB can provide for some pretty pictures and an intense game of frisbee, that doesn’t make it the front of the building. So why would the library be any different?

Alysa Rubin: Pattee Mall

When I picture the main entrance to the library, I think of the side overlooking Pattee Mall. Although the east entrance of the library is easily accessible by car or bus and closer to Starbucks, those are its only noteworthy features. The main entrance to the library is clearly the side that is more remarkable.

For one, the side of the library facing Pattee Mall is called the central entrance. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like the front door. Why would the main entrance to the library be called the east entrance? Also, above the central entrance, “The Library” is literally carved into the building.

Before you even walk into the library from the Pattee side, there’s a spectacular arrangement of gardens and greenery and plenty of places to sit and admire the architecture of the Central entrance. If the Central entrance wasn’t the main entrance, I’m guessing that there wouldn’t be so much effort put into making it look so nice.

In addition, there’s a revolving door at the Central entrance. Where are there usually revolving doors? The front of a building!

As you walk into the library from the Central entrance, you walk right towards the Commons desk and the entrances to the Stacks and pass by some grand staircases. However, when you walk in from the East entrance, you must walk to the sides to access the Commons desk and the Stacks. To me, it makes sense that the main entrance (aka the central entrance) would provide the most convenience.

If that’s not enough, the first Google search result of the library’s main entrance is the side that faces Pattee Mall. I don’t know what else could be more convincing than that.

Which side do you think is the entrance to the library? Let us know in the comments.

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