If the libraries were pop singers, who would they be?

The age-old question of which dining hall matches up with which rapper has at last been settled. Recently, a new comparison arose in my mind: what about the Brown libraries and pop singers? See below for the final ten pairings. [Ed’s note: We have ten libraries?!]

The Rock = Taylor Swift


“I’ve got a blank space, baby, and I’ll write an essay in absolute quiet.”

The Rock is always there: dependable, eclectic, the “America’s sweetheart” of libraries. It could only possibly be paired with the adorably inane TSwift. Sure, it’s about as easy to complain that you’re spending way too much time at the Rock as you do listening to Taylor. Yes, after a while it begins to seem like they’re both just the same thing over and over, but stay away from either one and you’ll return to find something new and interesting, whether it’s a bloodthirsty new music video or a shelf entirely filled with strange sexual practices across history. In fact, the Rock might even be a bit more predictable than Swift, since you can generally count on the Rock to not have bangs, and to not suddenly remove all of its songs from Spotify. (Side note: They both, permanently or temporarily, reside in Rhode Island.)

The SciLi = Ke$ha


“Let’s make the most of the night, like the stacks close at 2.”

Not only has Ke$ha clearly attempted the SciLi challenge once (or multiple times) in her career, she also manages to pull off the persona of an unabashedly sleazy, all-nighter-pulling party girl with unmatched poise and perfection. Not to mention, just as the SciLi holds plenty of knowledge (a fact often forgotten), Ke$ha is also a secret genius. She must’ve stopped by the Friedman Study Center preparing for her 1500 on the SATs. As the hours “Tik Tok” away during your all-nighter, is there anybody you’d rather switch lives with for just a few hours than the former Simple Life guest star herself? Just feel comforted: you’re actually studying right inside her multi-storied embodiment. (Side note: Despite her genius IQ, I was unable to locate a picture of Ke$ha reading, or even posing with, a book.)

The John Hay Library = Beyoncé


“Cause if you like it, then you shoulda put a multi-million dollar renovation on it.”

With its recent renovations, rare collections, and overall appearance of cultural savoir-faire, the John Hay is reigning as the undisputed sovereign of libraries here on campus, and, as such, could only be compared with the Queen Bey herself. Much like the library, Beyoncé has seen her own renovations of self over the years, from a member of Destiny’s Child to pulling the musical stunt of the century by dropping her album completely unannounced. (University officials claim that a one-night surprise overhaul of the Hay, while poetic, would have been unfeasible.) In the meantime, the Hay is sitting comfortably married to the Blue Room (i.e. Jay Z) while Andrews Commons (i.e. Drake) attempts to pull off a stunt of similar shock value (If you’re reading this… compost?). Let’s not forget the Hay’s impeccable dance routines, and that time it blasted “FEMINIST” across its exterior, either.

Orwig Music Library = Adele


“Should I give up, or should I just keep walking past New Dorm?”

It seems pretty fitting that Brown’s music library should be paired up with the pop singer who is most noted for her performances based entirely on her voice, lacking the theatricality that makes up most other pop performances. It’s safe to say that, in terms of libraries, Orwig lays low compared to the center stage presences of the Rock, SciLi, and the Hay, much like Adele’s tendency to fly under the radar of paparazzi. (Who even knew that she was pregnant until she… wasn’t anymore?) Not to mention, have you ever seen the steps leading to Orwig? Have you ever seen Adele perform? One word: classy as fuck. Sure, this library might be “Rolling in the Deep [south, of campus]” but it’s worth it every once in a while to walk the two blocks past Jo’s. You’re not likely to find “Some[library] Like [Orwig].”

Annmary Brown Memorial = Lorde


“I’ve never seen natural sunlight in the flesh.”

The Annmary Brown Memorial is creepy. (To give you an idea of just how out-of-place this building feels, consider that it autocorrects to “Anomaly Brown Memorial.”) I wasn’t even sure this was a library until I confirmed it on Brown’s website. Likewise, Lorde is sorta pop, sorta alternative, not quite fitting into the pop genre, but also definitely more popular than her more alternative counterparts. Plus, if Lorde plans on curating another soundtrack for some Hunger Games spinoff, she should definitely consider setting the arena inside this building. Not to mention, it seems fitting that someone with a hit titled “Royals” ought to be paired up with a library that’s also a memorial.

RISD Library = Lady Gaga


“I’m on the right track, baby, I was interior designed this way.”

This past week has been big for both RISD, whose new old president has just been appointed, and for Gaga, who got engaged, shocked the Oscars, and announced her upcoming role in the fifth season of American Horror Story. Okay, so technically the RISD Library isn’t dedicated to Little Monsters, but that doesn’t change that these two are the obvious pairing. Consider how frequently and fluidly Gaga finds ways to change her look, and how the RISD Library frequently features temporary exhibitions. Not to mention, both the library and the singer are often… unexpected in their design, function, and execution. Word has not yet been confirmed on whether the RISD Library will be covered in raw meat or surrounded by a giant egg for the summer in order to pay homage to its obvious pop counterpart.

CIT Library (Room 410) = Daft Punk


“We’re up all night to this song, we’re up all night to write code.”

I’ll be honest, I know as much about the CIT Library as I do about Daft Punk, but, let’s be honest, this one seems like a no-brainer. The one is an institution set aside to be filled with knowledge of computer programming and created to imbue the minds of students with information on all facets of the tech frontier, and the other one is apparently some library in the CIT. Either way, they both deal with computers, are pretty flashy (again, I’m assuming here), and are fairly “Technologic.” So, the next time you want to “Get Lucky” on a CS midterm, head to the CIT library and study “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” (Side Note: Would Daft Punk even be able to use the CIT shower without taking off their masks?)

The John Carter Brown Library = Madonna


“I made it through the centuries, somehow I made it through.”

The John Carter Brown Library boasts one of the finest collections of rare books and primary historical American texts. And what person is more closely aligned with a “primary historical American text” than Madonna herself? We associate both the JCB library and Madge with the past, archives, and charity events and galas, so the two are clearly a perfect match. It’s also easy to agree that, if the John Carter Brown library were to speak, it’d probably have a fake slight British accent. Also, consider that the JCB library acted all cool when OCRA hit the scene, but was definitely pretty jealous when Brown students realized how cool the RISD Library is, too.

The Becker Library (second floor, Lyman hall) = Katy Perry


“Do you ever feel, like a plastic theatre diorama?”

Katy Perry, who somehow manages to balance both the girl next door vibe (e.g. her brief stint on Sesame Street) with her overt sexuality (e.g. her brief stint on Sesame Street) and the tendency to veer into some serious empowerment territory (“Firework” and “Roar,” for example) is no stranger to theatricality. The Becker, Brown’s theatre library, tucked away in the second floor of Lyman hall, is a perfect match. Equal parts quaint and enticing, the theatre dioramas decorating the shelves of this room can’t help but remind someone of Katy’s miniature beach set for her Super Bowl half time show. Also, Katy must’ve learned how to make those quick-change costumes somewhere. And I’m still not convinced that Left Shark wasn’t a demonstration of stage puppetry mastery. Whatever the case, Katy’s a sure fit for the Becker, and she can party there any Friday night she likes (assuming there isn’t a show happening downstairs in Leeds that weekend).

Online Course Reserves = Britney


“Oops…I buffered again.”

Okay, so this one is a stretch, because OCRA isn’t technically a library in the way these other buildings and rooms are, but hear me out: OCRA, like Britney, is everywhere. Sure, she may not get all of the attention all of the time, and people rarely give OCRA a shout-out as their favorite Brown resource, but you can’t truly appreciate modern pop music without giving a nod and some appreciation to all that Britney did to set up the industry as it entered the twenty-first century. Similarly, you’d be hard pressed not to appreciate how well OCRA brought Brown’s own library system into the twenty-first century. Also, consider how vast OCRA’s catalogue is, and how large Britney’s discography is compared to the other artists except Madonna I guess on this list. No confirmation yet on why OCRA decided to shave its head in 2007, but since then, it appears to be recovering quite nicely.

As for some final pairings, Rihanna is so badass nowadays that she’s about the equivalent of randomly finding a really good book somewhere around campus and realizing it’s a smash hit. Justin Bieber is closest to the Brown Annex, because every once in a while he pops up for a day or two of noteworthiness when we need something to talk about, but we can usually rely on him to die down pretty quickly. For now, at least, you finally know just which artists to listen to when dutifully library-hopping during your midterm season study binge.  Go for it. Play “Crazy in Love” in the Hay reading room. Everyone’ll love it.

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