Let me explain: Grit City University is a real, live four-year university. We also awards masters' degrees, but our main mission is undergrad-focused. So our library has always been geared towards the undergraduate audience. Then you combine that with decades of funding cutbacks, and what we find is that most of our books are out of date or just plain inappropriate for serious research above the level of an undergraduate research paper (and often not even that). Sure, we have a fantastic interlibrary loan service, and decent research databases (I've fought like hell to keep the one on medieval stuff, which almost got the axe a few years back), but nothing that I could do real research at -- you know, the kind where you sit down with a multi-volume published source collection from the early 1900s or a run of journals or a hard-to-get reference work and just work in the library all day.
Fortunately, GCU is only two and a half hours away from Major Research University (MRU), so sometimes I just come up here and work for a day.
Except: did I mention the "two and a half hours" thing? Yeah, that's each way. And, for me: on public transit. So, research trip math: 2.5 hours times two plus timing to make sure that I'm not in the rush-hour commute but still home before 10 pm and not up before 6 and... I generally get 4 hours of research time for five hours of commute.
You can see why I don't do this very often. Then, last time I did, I hit on a solution: I would stay the night. MRU is actually in a really nice area, with restaurants and coffee shops and stores and such. And a couple years back I got a tip on a seen-better-days pension-style 1930s budget hotel for a really ridiculous price per night. The first time I stayed there, it was warm enough out that everyone had their windows open, and I could hear, from three rooms down, a very talented person practicing the violin, all drifting in my window with the breeze. I thought: "This is the kind of place that one might check into for a month to finish one's novel."
|The Room. With room-key.|