Memories from Students and Alumni
Share your memories of the library at library.tulane.edu/memories!
Sarah, Class of 2016: I was cramming for an exam at 1:30am on a Thursday night when the roof of Howie T broke and flooded the 4th floor. The library staff called all the students still in the library (who were all studying... it was 1:30am on a Thursday) upstairs to save the books from damage. We took off our shoes, formed an assembly line in the puddles, and passed each book person to person until the room was cleared. Most of us were strangers and yet bonded over our heroics that strange night.
Graduate, class of 2015: Pulling all-nighters while studying for music history on the top floor with my fellow music students. We would literally sing (quietly) and talk (quietly) about music/composers for hours and hours and everyone around us would just give us weird looks because we were the most animated group in there. For all the stress those exams put us through, I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Coco, class of 2017: I accidentally got high on cough syrup while studying with my friends in Howie T and I ended up crawling up & down the 4th floor and my friends had to put me in one of those black couches near the elevator to calm me down.
Nina, class of 2018: My two friends and I had a silent disco in a private study room after we had been studying for finals for probably for ten hours. We all clicked play on our headphones to Africa by Toto at the same time and silently danced like there was no tomorrow. But the walls were glass so everyone saw us. It was mad therapeutic and I finished my giant capstone paper about an hour later.
Clare, class of 2012: I remember always rushing from the LBC where I'd take my practice LSATS over to Howie-T to punch in my answers online and see what my score would be. My fondest memory of this was the time I got my highest practice score ever.
Jay class of 2016: I spent countless hours tutoring at the library and loved every single one of them. Thanks for being a huge part of my college experience!
Amber, unknown class: My love for Howie T...from the best student work as an undergrad in Special Collections, to every book I needed the LAL for my M.A., to awesome librarians who gushed over & held my newborn. Best library!
Graduate, class of 2012: When I was a senior, I took a Nazi Cinema class. I couldn't make the screening of Schindler's List, so I had to watch it on the 4th floor. I'd never seen it before. By the end of the movie, I lost my shit. I held myself together, but when I opened my mouth to explain to the poor student worker at the video/media reference desk that I resented being forced to watch a movie like that publicly, I lost my shit again. The poor girl tried to be sympathetic but she had no idea what I'd even been watching or why this student was balling her eyes out in the middle of a library. I pulled it together again, but by the time I got to the elevator, I lost my shit once more, and I just remember the elevator doors taking a small century to close and shield me from the people in 4th floor lobby.. and when they finally closed, I just sank down into the corner and cried hysterically. Thanks Steven Spielberg, and thank you, Howie-T.
Sofia, class of 2015: Thanks Howie T helping me get to med school! I miss the view from the 3rd floor so much!
Marlee, class of 2014: I loved working in the Latin American library. It was my first job and I got to see all kinds of books, even some of the first printed in the Americas. Really miss those days.
Katharine, class of 1990: Loved the secret garden library of the Deep South. It was deep inside the basement during the late 1980’s. Moved to the Law Library, and who knows where it is today? Tastefully, it was a retreat from the soap opera upstairs. Perhaps that special place encouraged my nearly 30 year career in the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture industries.
Jessica, class of 2012: Working as a student worker at Howard-Tilton is one of my fondest memories from undergrad. I worked at both the Louisiana Research Collection and the Latin American Library one summer. The library staff were amazing to work with and I gained a deep appreciation for how important the library is to the institution. The library is the heart of the university, where all of the research is done and where students spend their time study, learning, and socializing. The amount of resources Tulane students have access to through the library is amazing. I cherish my time working at the library because I learned so much about how to be a better student and researcher, and also because I learned that librarians are some of the smartest people you will ever meet. And yes, they want you to talk to them! They are there to help you find what you need and they are wealth of knowledge.
David, class of 1975: In the fall of 1972, I was an 18-year-old sophomore who had recently fallen in love with the study of literature and philosophy. One afternoon, I found a study carrel next to a window on the third floor of the library. Late in the day, the September light grew soft and a bit melancholy. It seemed -- it felt as if -- I was the only person on the entire floor. After a while, and with some of the late-afternoon light remaining, I marked my place in the text I was reading and made my way over to the U.C. cafeteria for dinner. It was a perfect afternoon.
Jennifer, class of 2001: I enjoyed working at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library during my time at Tulane. I loved going into the basement to retrieve special collection pieces. The most memorable being the book Sex by Madonna for an art student's thesis.
William, class of 1978: Oddball but... Second semester Organic Chemistry class (Dr. Hamer, spring 1976) we were required to research our selected synthesis reaction at the library. Pretty dry reading, but one time my lab partner & I went directly after our lab to do the research. Our lab required cleaning all glassware with ether, then rinsing in hot water. Being diligent students, we used plenty of ether, which vaporized in the hot water. By the time we got to the library, we were feeling the effects of the ether and got the giggles while reading the chemical literature. We has a great time and actually got it done. Not recommended practice.
Lory, class of 2006: Late one evening (perhaps around 1:00 a.m.) during exam time, I was diligently studying on one of the upper floors at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. All of a sudden, I saw a giant penguin walk through the doors from the elevator bank, holding a sign that read, "-----, I hope you "ICE" your final!" I don't remember -----'s name and did not recognize her. She quickly got up and gave a big hug to the giant penguin who removed its costumed head. I was probably as uplifted as she was to see what her friend did to lift her spirits during a stressful time.
Tony, class of 1972: I was a freshman at Tulane in the fall of 1968 (50 years ago), and part of my financial aid package included on-campus work, which happened to be at the new library building. I worked mostly in the reserved book room, which at the time was on the bottom level as I recall. Working there was very quiet and I was able to get some studying done between checking out books, returning books to their proper location, and other misc. duties. I think I worked there about15 hours a week. It's really hard to believe it's been 50 years since then and I'm now 68 and retired from a long career in manufacturing management. Maybe I can get back to campus someday to reminisce some more. To all current students: life travels very fast, so make the most of it. Thanks for the memories, Tulane!
Charles, class of 1986: In 1985 I participated and helped lead a sit in to protest the planned cuts to service hours. In the age before the internet, the only information for studies was in the form of physical books stored in a library!
Robert, class of 1976: I came to Tulane from Brasil in 1972 and graduated in 1976 A&S with a double major in Economics and Latin American Studies. In those days we did not have access to news from home via cable tv or internet. The Latin American Library (LAL) had subscriptions to the newspapers and magazines from all over Latin America. So this became the Latin American students go to place to catch up on news from back home. Many of us met each other at LAL as we would see the magazine or newspaper being read and asked the fellow student where they were from and what was the news from their country. So not only were we meeting new friends, we were also learning about the current events and history of the region. The LAL is still my main connection to Tulane as I have maintained a direct relation with their staff over the years. The first time I donated to Tulane was for the Marjorie Ledoux Memorial Fund, she was the head of LAL when I was a student, and helped me prepare for tests and paper research projects. When I retired in 2008 and returned to New Orleans, I became a volunteer with various organizations, focusing on the historical and cultural relation between New Orleans and Latin America. The present LAL Director, Hortensia Calvo, helped me figure how to channel my efforts when I returned. And periodically I still use LAL for my research. And, of course, I can still go by and read articles from newspapers or magazines from Latin America!
Graduate, class of 1988: While it’s been years since my 1988 graduation, I have so many memories at the library. I believe it was the 4th floor, the social floor, where I spent the most time. We really did study there, had group study sessions there, researched books for term papers there, but when the studying done it was off to the Boot or other local hangouts straight from the library. My favorite memory is during senior year when my best friend and I were obsessed with REM and wanted to learn every word to the song “It’s the End of the World” and spent the better part of an afternoon at the library writing out the lyrics and memorizing the song. To this day whenever I hear that song I think of that day at Howard-Tilton library and get a big smile on my face while singing every word!
Angelique, class of 2001: Through volunteering with CACTUS on campus, I became a tutor to help struggling high school students around the area. Some were struggling in school, but many had dropped out and wanted assistance to prepare for the GED. We used the downstairs study rooms for those tutoring sessions. The library was ideally located on Freret, making bus travel for our students possible, many of them without any other means of transportation. As a volunteer at Tulane, I was just looking to get involved and help, but looking back as an adult, I realize we were changing the trajectory of our students' lives and really making a difference. It wasn't just my tutoring that made that impact, but the other students at CACTUS, Tulane for supporting our efforts, and the free use of a great facility: HTML, that really changed those lives. Thanks, HTML, for being the home for the late night study sessions for me and my fellow students that have afforded me the successful life I live now and the love of learning I continue to enjoy. But you also gave me an opportunity to improve the life of another. Thank you.
Kathryn, class of 2011: I have many memories from Howie-T, as we called it. My friends and I would study on the first floor so we could study AND chat, goof-off, share silly internet videos, etc. We were very excited about the rolling furniture on the first floor, we would move it into little study circles, big or small depending on who all was in studying any given night. I usually would go in to start studying around 8-9 p.m. and closed the library down many times, especially around finals. I always had mixed feelings of horror and accomplishment when the final warning would come over the loudspeaker announcing that the library was closing and everyone had to leave.
Carla, class of 1965: I met my first husband at the library. I used to go there to study every night. One night, I noticed him come in and sit at a nearby table. After that he was also there every night, and it wasn’t long before he started sitting next to me. We never discussed meeting at the library; we just did. I was a sophomore and he was a freshman, so we began fixing each other up – him with my freshman sorority sisters and me with his older fraternity brothers. Then he began walking me back to my dorm every night, and soon we always stopped for an ice cream cone on the way. It wasn’t long before we stopped fixing each other up and started dating. We saw each other every weekday night at the library and went out every weekend night. My funniest memory of the library is one night when he stopped the elevator between floors so he could kiss me. We got married two years after college and divorced about ten years later. I have fond memories of our time at the library.
Leah, class of 2007: I was a student worker at Howard-Tilton and I loved my Saturday shifts re-shelving books. The library was quiet and still in the early morning and I discovered so many new books working in the stacks.
Diana, class of 1994: Howard-Tilton is where I would go to find a quiet spot on campus to study after picking a cup of coffee at PJ's in the Pocket Park. Because of those quiet spaces in the library, my grades improved as an upperclassman. I used to make phone calls from the pay phones in the basement back when cell phones did not exist. During my 20th reunion at Tulane in 2014, I enjoyed walking along the shelves of books and seeing some of the old furniture and books.
Melissa, class of 2017: Collectively, all of the hours I spent with Howie T. helped me get into veterinary school...so thank you Howie T. for helping me reach my life-long dream!
Amelia, class of 2010: My husband and I met at the Latin American Library's book sale in 2008!
Graduate, class of 2014: I remember spending so much time here when I didn't have class with my friend and this is how we became closer she is now my bestfriend.
Graduate, class of 2012: I spent a lot of time in Howie-T as a student. Working on the computers when my laptop died, looking up books and writing notecards, living in fear of the frankly dangerous elevators (what building has elevators that keep moving after the doors open???), it was a big part of my tulane experience. Happy Birthday, Howie-T!
Student, class of 2021: At first I was intimidated by the library, second semester I finally tried it out. Now, I have my same spot on my favorite floor where I spend hours with my friends as we study. Thank you Howie T.
Student, class of 2019: During finals last year my friends and I took over a desk on the first floor of the library. We sat there for two weeks straight studying and sharing silly stories.
Tim, class of 2017: I got my first library job at Howie T and it completely changed my career path in life (I learned how cool and important libraries can be, so thanks Howie!). I’ll also never forget my special spot on the fourth floor that overlooked the city and all the laughing/crying/studying I did with friends there!
Sarah, class of 2016: In 2013 when the new top floor of the library was under construction, a huge NOLA-sized thunderstorm descended on the library in the early hours of the morning and water started leaking through the roof. All Tulane students in the library at that late hour were desperately cramming for tests or writing mid-term papers. But when the call came over the speaker that "all hands were needed" on the top floor of the library to save the books from incoming rainwater, just about every soul in the building heeded the call. When we got to the top floor, there was already a foot of water on the floor, and everyone was completely drenched. We all waded in and made a human chain to pass piles of thousands of books to dry safety. I don't know how many tests were failed or papers were turned in late the next morning, but it was well worth it to save our beloved Howie T!
HTML Student employee in Interlibrary Loan, class of 2017: I got my first job working in Howard-Tilton and the women I worked with helped shape me to be a better student, Annie Leonard-Kemp was an amazing support system and a woman that made sure I was never too stressed out and that my work would get done.
Amber, class of 2016: While cramming all night for exams, I took a nap in a blanket fort I made in between bookshelves.
Ian, class of 2000: It was always a treat to visit the Hogan Jazz Archive on a break from studying, there was such a trove of treasures down there!
Roberto, class of 2015: It was my first year as a grad. Student in 2008 and I guess I was already exhausted from the work because before I knew it I was asleep. When I woke up, the library was closed and I had to call TUPD to open the building for me. Its not uncommon for grad. students to be library rats but getting locked in takes us one step further.
Alice, class of 2002: The higher you went in the building, the more serious the studying. If I was "social studying" I would stop on the second floor. If it was crunch time "serious studying" I would climb to the Latin American Library on the 4th floor, where it was quieter and I preferred the art on the walls. I remember old-school vending in the basement where you could still buy an actual cup of coffee from a machine. A great procrastination and caffeination station.
Sejal, class of 2019: A friend and I were studying for our Univariate Statistics class on a Saturday night in the basement of Howie T. Both of us were sophomores and had just started going to the library for the first time that semester and as a result, we had no idea that the library closed early on the weekends. We ordered pizza and continued studying until maybe 2:15am, when we finally decided to head back to our respective dorms and sleep. As we got onto the first floor of the library, we were amazed, as we could see no one else in the library... [we] tried to leave the library. The doors were locked! Luckily, we had a close friend who was an RA, so we ended up calling him to ask for advice and he told us to call TUPD. We called them and within 10 minutes, a single police officer showed up to pry the doors open for us. We were laughing so hard with the cop that we ended up taking a picture with him in front of the library once we were freed, in hopes that we could send it to our Univariate Statistics professor and get some extra credit. Unfortunately, our professor loved the picture, but didn't give us extra credit and in the end, it was a hilarious experience that I'll never forget. Love you, Howie T!!
Student, class of 2020: When I took a creative writing class freshman year, I used to go up to the semi-secret 6th floor couches to write my poetry. There were often people taking naps or just relaxing on the comfy chairs, with the New Orleans skyline as a back-drop. I always felt inspired by the peaceful little nook, a sanctuary from all the stress that people felt cramming for tests and writing last-minute papers in the cubicles throughout the rest of the library. Even though I'm not doing as much writing these days, I still love to go up there and read a book when I have the time.
Bryn, class of 2017: I went to make a call in the back staircase closest to Freret St (this was when it was all under construction, if that explains anything) and when I went to return to my desk, all the doors were locked. On. Every. Floor. This was a Friday night at around 10pm. No one was near the doors so my banging went unheard. I had to call my friends and wait over an hour before anyone could come by and let me out.
Student, class of 2021: One of my first weeks here at Tulane I attended a silent disco at the library. Not only was it a fun activity to do with my new friends, but it also helped me get to know the library and the staff in an unintimidating way so that when it came time to study there I knew my way around.
Student, class of 2020: I fell asleep in the library, laying head down on a desk. I woke up several hours later, and packet my bag to go home. Little did I know that I had slept right on my notes, and some of the words had transferred to my forehead. I went downstairs and a guy I used to like said hi, then laughed and went “nice demand curve”. I only realized when I got home, and kicked myself for a whole week.
Bryn, class of 2017: I had a really big crush on a pre-med kid who had a certain spot he always liked to study in on the 3rd floor. I decided to become an academic that semester so I could “accidentally” bump into him there, and ended up with a 4.0 but no boyfriend.
Student, class of 2020: Howie T has been an integral part of my college experience. When my life gets busy and I can’t invest time in planned outings with my friends, i can always rely on Howie T to provide a space for my friends and I to have a fun and productive study experience. I love when we take breaks hanging in the basement or by Pjs! I have truly developed my friendship and made several inside jokes at Howie T. Thanks for all you do make the [library] a valuable place to have.