The Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center, also known as the Morningside College Library, first opened in February 1914, as the Alumni Gymnasium. The architect William Beuttler designed the building for the Morningside College Campus. An increase in enrollment at Morningside College following World War II amplified the need for reference materials as well as study space for the students attending the college. So, in 1956, renovations were done to convert it to a library. In 2005 more renovations were done to make the learning center more inviting and supportive for the entire campus community.
So, I am standing here today observing this building full of Morningside College history. The outside of the building is made of layers and layers of brick. One can realize that the building has three stories in it by simply looking at the windows from the outside. The brick is brown/burnt red in color and even though it has been in the summer sun all day, it is still fairly cool to the touch. Not like a tub of ice cream but more like the feeling you get when you jump into a well temperature pool. Unlike the inviting water though, the brick is rough like the everyday sand paper you would find in a shop class. If you ran you fingers along in long enough, they would become raw quite quickly. The roof is covered in a red, rounded tile that looks smooth and slick from three stories below.
There are three entrances that are used to enter this building full of knowledge. Two are located in the back of the building. One is for the KMSC and MCTV students and the other is probably the most popular way to enter the library. In fact, it is the entrance I always use because it is the closest to the dorms and café. To add to the doors popularity among the student body, it has the main sidewalk that runs through the heart of the campus wind right up to it. The main entrance, located in the front of the building, has the original entrance to the building back when it was a gymnasium re-set off to the side of the structure. This old entrance is made of stone and is smooth to the touch like a baby’s butt. But unlike a baby, it is very old.
Around the building, the grass is green, and thick. Sidewalks run every which way like a maze around the building so that a student could easily get from the Learning Center to any building or parking lot on campus. Tan, extremely over weight squirrels that have the habit of not hibernating during the winter run around the grass and from tree to tree. These trees spot the open grass on the main entrance side in the same way that students spot the library an hour before closing time. I have been told that they are non-hibernating heavy set squirrels because the Morningside College biology department insists on feeding the confident rodents.
The learning center is a hot spot for almost every student on campus, but not just for hitting the books. Inside this building is classrooms, a radio station, a TV station, a circulation desk where and awesome guy named Josh Meredith works, and the Spoonholder Café. The Spoonholder is located near the front entrance and is always a temptation when walking by. This is because the smells of Starbucks coffee assaults one’s nose immediately, while the smell of muffins and cookies slowly wafer through the air as if you were back in grandmas kitchen. It is a quiet place there on the first floor. But then again, it is a library so you would expect that. Most of the first floor is lined with tables were students can sit to study. There is a back area full of reference materials that are as old as dirt and most students refuse to touch them because the internet has everything they could need for references. There is also a magazine section where almost any magazine that matters in the world today resides in the area in alphabetical order.
The library now.
The library back in the day.