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NYU(AD) Secrets: Library Edition

We need to give ourselves time to wander, to get lost in the shelves of the NYUAD library.

While a day at the library for most students probably means essay writing, problem solving and study sessions that end up in procrastination, I would describe my hours in the space as filled with discovery and amazement.
After four semesters of working as a Student Assistant at the library, I have held in my hands all sorts of books, from Art tutorials and Biology textbooks to comics and photographs. I have seen books I would have never expected an academic library at a university to hold, let alone books I never thought still existed.
I am writing this piece so you can enjoy the library as much as I do. The next time you feel like you can’t spend another second looking at your notes, you can check out one of the many treasures that the shelves hold.
The Lives and Secrets of Men and Women, by Frank Warren. (Leisure Collection):
Think about your deepest and darkest secret. Would you ever share it? Can you imagine it ever being published? This book is a compilation of the most twisted personal secrets. The author created this book by distributing postcards to strangers and leaving them in public places; asking people to write down their biggest secrets on them. After a few months, he received enough postcards, resulting in a book filled with the most intense stories about love affairs, hate and people revealing their family recipe's secret ingredient. Although it is not very often that we get to witness burning secrets being released by their bearers, this book reminds us that everyone has secrets.
Steal like an artist, by Austin Kleon (BF 408. K55 2012):
For the artsy and not so artsy, for anyone on the lookout for some extra creativity in their lives, this small book will provide you with 10 easy steps to insert art in your daily life. It will encourage you to start that project you have had in mind for the past semesters, inspire you to document everything that surrounds you and help rethink what originality means. Its multiple illustrations and easy-going flow means it will not take long to flip through Kleon’s pages. With concise and practical advice, Steal Like an Artist is the little push everyone needs to take out a pencil, brush or scissors and just create something.
For those who are already a fan of Austin Kleon, the library has luckily just ordered his second and third book. Keep an eye out for those as well.
Adbusters (Periodicals): This magazine is for the rebels out there. If climate emergency or revolution are thoughts that cross your mind regularly, you will not want to put Adbusters down. With powerful aesthetics, well crafted collages and insightful essays, these pages will ignite that need to take action and will give you recommendations on how to do so. The articles challenge the system in every possible way — from putting megacorporations under the spotlight, disecting how media plays with our minds and addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time, such as depression and consumerism. Checking out this diamond in the rough requires some extra effort, given that periodicals are found on the second floor of the library in the reading room. But who said saving the world was easy? Enter quietly, grab an issue and contribute to the next big revolution.
The Book of the Color Black (PZ 10. 4. C67125 2011):
The Book of the Color Black is one of my biggest treasures, but before introducing this book, I need to introduce you to its section. In the library, there are specific shelves for Philosophy books (B), Music books (ML) and Computer Science books (Q). There is also a section for Children’s books (PZ), and although the NYU Abu Dhabi library does not have the largest supply, there is a collection of stories for the youngest of Arabic speakers. For the brave students endearing the hardships of Arabic courses, this section provides good opportunities to challenge your vocabulary. Learning Arabic can be tough, but exploring stories through the lens of a child can make the process more bearable.
As for “The Book of the Color Black”, it is surprisingly all about colors, yet when you flip through its pages, all you see is black. This book is designed for blind people. The pages are filled with words in Arabic, Braille and raised images. The story is told through the experience of a child who is able to taste red and hear brown. This fascinating work is a good chance for you to rethink your favorite color.
“Nothing is more important than an unread library,” Austin Kelone wrote in “Steal Like an Artist”, and I couldn’t agree more. Learning doesn’t need to stop with a deadline. We need to give ourselves time to wander — to get lost in the shelves of the NYUAD library.
Maria Jose Alonso is a contributing writer. Email her at
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