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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Fleet Library, part 1



In high school I dreamed of going to the Rhode Island School of Design. I wanted to be an artist of some stripe, only I couldn’t get a portfolio together in time, so I wound up studying art history at NYU. That path led me to paint with words instead, and while I love this life, I do occasionally think about how things would look now if I’d had more courage and confidence as a high schooler. A few weeks ago Elizabeth invited me along to a reception and tour of the Fleet Library at RISD, and I got to indulge again in that little daydream. (Not that I’d have been able to use this library back in the day—it only opened in 2006.)

The library is in a converted bank building, with all the best details and features intact. It is an absolute delight.




The lovely folks at the Fleet had wine, apple cider, fresh fruit, and other nibbly things on offer, and Elizabeth and I chatted with our new friend Chelsea before the tour began.





Laser-cut lettering spells out the names of students’ favorite artists.







Modular study spaces. (I can’t decide if I’d feel cozy or claustrophobic.)








We left the library that evening feeling thoroughly inspired. I mention that “lost” dream of high school not because I care to dwell on “might have beens”—it is a waste of energy, for the most part—but because I haven’t actually given up on it…

(Coming Thursday: fun shots from the Material Resource Center and Picture Collection on the second floor!)


4 Comments to Fleet Library, part 1

  1. Jen's Gravatar Jen
    April 21, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Wow, what an incredible space. Lucky RISD students.

  2. April 21, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Did I ever tell you I got accepted and received an insanely generous scholarship (being from Wisconsin is kind of like being from Guatemala for schools outside the Midwest) to the Savannah College of Art and Design? I ended up not going because after visiting, I knew I wouldn’t fit in, but sometimes I get the what-ifs. And mostly it just brings me back to gratitude for the paths I have taken, trusting that they were (and are) the way I should travel, and that I’m right where I need to be.

  3. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    April 21, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    That is the nicest library that I have ever seen! GW’s library was a downright dump and Maryland’s was very sterile.

  4. April 22, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful library! I am envious.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.