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Exploring the UM library in 1960.

April 7, 2016

UM Library 1960I was able to make a printable photograph at the library in 1960.

April 7, 2016

Seems like every time I raced through the men’s dormitories the telephones in the hall alcoves were different.  And I did race.  Right up until I moved with my mother and grandma from Missoula to Dillon in 1962.  For me, Dillon was a hell of a comedown. Missoula was the land of plenty.  Dillon, the land of want.  Missoula had men’s dormitories to race through with telephones in the alcoves.  I didn’t want to think about Dillon, only Missoula.  Only Missoula.  In 1960.

A  phone without a dial.

I remember this one time.  The telephones in the alcoves of Craig Hall all had no dials!  They had dial-like disks, perhaps, but no little numbers and nothing to stick one’s fingers into to dial the phone.  They were just bare naked phones.  As I raced through the halls, just an adolescent boy who lived about six blocks away from the main campus of the University of Montana, I picked up one of the phones.  An operator asked me what I wanted.  I was afraid.  I was surprised to speak to an operator!  I quickly, quietly, put the phone back on its cradle.  I thought that the phones in the men’s residence hall were not so much fun, after all.

The University of Montana library in 1960.

The fun was usually at the campus library.  The library in 1960 was in the building later occupied by Scholars Press.  I guess that’s no help, if you don’t know Scholars Press.  The library was just west of the University Theater building.  I don’t know if that’s much help now days, in telling what used to be one great building for a kid in the 6th grade to play in.

The library had two parts, front and back.  The front part had three levels, the back part, four.  An elevator ran smack dab between them.  It stopped in the front at three floors, and in the back, four.  Seven in all.  Therefore, the elevator could be entered in front or in back.  The elevator car had a gate, like the gate that holds a child in, fore and aft.  The gate opened and shut automatically.  On the other side of the gates was the door to the elevator as entered from each floor.  Therefore, if one wanted to go from front one to back two, the gate automatically shut, the door on the other side shut, the elevator climbed a couple of feet, then the car stopped and the gate opened and the door opened.  What a splendid show of doors and gates!  I spent hours.

Any cowboy books?

I had this friend I wanted to impress.  He asked me if the library had any cowboy books.  Shit!  Does a university library have any cowboy books?  It certainly had fuck books!  I knew where in the stacks I could find Playboy magazine.  Of course, I answered, yes to his question about cowboy books.  I knew where in the stacks one could find school textbooks for the School of Education.  Some of the reading texts had a cowboy theme, and I had spent enough time wandering through the library that I could find them.

One time I went into the library and found a suitably uniform set of law books to photograph.  I still have it, and I will share it here.

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