Written by Morgan Jeitler.
Graphic by Emma Robinson.

Why does everyone hate the PCL—or, better yet, why does UT’s culture tell us we should hate the PCL? Sure, I’ll admit that from the outside the Perry-Castañeda Library may look like a prison, and it might be stuffy and hot some days and too crowded on others, but these reasons and reasons like it are superficial facades for the reality of what the PCL symbolizes for students—that the PCL reminds us, as students, of everything we can’t stand about studying for and the hell we go through to receive our degrees.

It reminds us of long nights spent awake preparing for an exam or writing an essay, the time we spend alone with our computer instead of with friends, and it’s often memed in UT Facebook groups, like UT LONGmemes For HORNSy Teens. The memes, some of which are featured here, criticize not the building or the space itself, but rather what we do with it: our “silent tears,” our “high work ethic” and “low serotonin levels,” and the notion that this place is where many of us “[live] at a point in [our lives.]”

Photo courtesy of UT LONGmemes For HORNSy Teens.
Photo courtesy of UT LONGmemes For HORNSy Teens.

Sophomore English major and a vehement opponent of the PCL, Sloane Smith, wants it to be known that she too hates the PCL. 

“I do everything I can to stay away from the PCL,” Smith said in an interview. “I will study in any other library before the PCL.”

Smith has only gone into the building twice this past semester and when asked why, she answered that “there’s an atmosphere stress. I’d much rather be in somewhere that feels cozy, like the Union or the Architecture library.”

But the question remains—is it the PCL itself that generates this atmospheric stress, or is it the common perception students have about the PCL? I believe it’s the latter. In all honesty, the PCL is not unlike the Union or the Architecture library, and in many ways it’s better. The PCL has a coffee shop, quiet and collaborative study spaces, comfortable chairs, a writing center, a public speaking center, and (if you’re anything like me) thousands of books to distract yourself with when taking a break from your pile of work. The PCL has so much to offer its students, and it, in fact, just got a 2.7 million dollar budget increase to continue to improve for the benefit of students. So, instead of hating the PCL for what we think it is, maybe instead we should focus our hate on the atmosphere we’ve created in one of UT’s best libraries on campus.

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