The Bizzell library was built in honor of William Bennett Bizzell, OU’s fifth president. Its first phase was completed in 1929, but it has been expanded several times since then. It is one of the most iconic buildings on the OU campus.
This library contains a variety of interior styles. There are the Stacks, with clouded glass floors and cramped shelves that all look fairly similar. The smell of old books and the dim lighting give it a slightly eerie feel. Then there is the Great Reading Room, a magnificent room of silence and stillness. The very atmosphere of the room seems to inspire thoughtful contemplation and almost reverence. One of my favorite times to sit in the Great Reading Room is in the evening, when the west windows allow the sunlight to stream into the room, turning the rich wood into a beautiful gold (it was around this time of day when I took the picture below for a friend). Its name is fitting as well; its noise-free environment with few distractions is a perfect setting for reading or thinking.
The rest of the library is a rather drab environment with low ceilings and florescent lighting, filled with books and desks, though the first floor has a new computer lab and has been renovated recently to be much more modern. Part of the basement was also renovated within the last year, including a redesign of the Bookmark Cafe and the creation of a new collaborative space for students.
A library is one of the most important buildings for a college student, and the Bizzell Library’s architecture is suitably impressive. The two main entrances to the library are both impressive, but my favorite entrance has always been the set of doors on the south side. They are grand, heavy wooden and glass doors that make one feel they are entering a place full of significance and knowledge – and indeed, that describes Bizzell exactly.