Uni Life

Hidden Gems of The Auchmuty and Huxley Libraries

Nikola Jokanovic explores every nook, cranny and crannied nook of UON’s libraries and finds out what secrets are held there.

 The University of Newcastle’s two Callaghan libraries are something of a second home to us all. But for all the hours we’ve spent there, between the marathon study sessions, subtle silent zone naps or last-minute freak-outs, how well do we really know our libraries? Just the other day I found out this supposed second home has a whole section of Japanese and Chinese-language books and a film and television collection that could go toe-to-toe with Netflix. With these discoveries, I decided to investigate and see what else is hidden in the hallowed halls of the Aucmuty and Huxley.

 The main draw here is the film and television collection, and by far the libraries’ best-kept secret is Kanopy, a free online streaming service accessible through NEWCAT+. Although some of you may know it for coursework-related videos and documentaries, it just so happens that Kanopy also hosts a seemingly bottomless amount of year-old Hollywood movies, Oscar winners, foreign films, classics from every decade, old, indie or artsy choices and everything in between. With the combined hours of content between this and Netflix it would be literally impossible to run out of procrastination material.

 The only thing missing from Kanopy is a decent TV collection. Luckily the library has all bases covered with a solid collection of DVD seasons which can be found in the Auchmuty and Huxley’s AV collections. These collections carry a few hundred movie DVDs and a few dozen TV seasons including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, The Sopranos, 30 Rock, HBO’s Rome, The Wire, Weeds and more. Will any of us see the light of day again?

 Some of us do go to university to study and get a degree though. Although it may be common knowledge, both libraries have a course reserves area where you can find a copy of every prescribed text. If buying textbooks doesn’t fit the budget one semester you could try making use of the copy kept in the reserves. This would helpfully force you to be organised with how and when you do your readings and note-takings since these copies cannot be borrowed. It’s also worth noting that the library is just that, a library; if there’s ever a topic that interests you there’s bound to be a bunch of books and resources available for it through NEWCAT+.

 In my snoopings for this article, I found out about a bunch of other cool things to which our libraries are home. In no particular order: the Huxley library has a collection of graphic novels, comics and manga for loan with titles like Batman, Superman, Watchmen, Death Note, The Walking Dead and more. The secret fourth level of the Auchmuty library is a journal room (or dungeon) accessible by a corner of the AIC, deadly quiet and with tall moveable shelves. As previously mentioned, the Flowers Room of the Auchmuty has a Japanese and Chinese-language section. There’s a large collection of classical music on vinyl in the Auchmuty, found in the first room on the right when walking in from the stairs. Psychology students have access to toys from the Huxley, including a bunch of LEGO kits.

Even though much of our university lives are lived in the libraries, we may not know a whole lot about what they have to offer. If we’re keeping up with the second home analogy, I just found out that my second home has a basement, a Video Ezy and every textbook I’ll ever need. Who knows what else could be hidden?

Feature image via Unsplash, by Redd Angelo.

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