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Gould Memorial Library, BCC, Bronx

“For more than four decades, Gould has been a landmark in search of a purpose, beyond being an awe-inspiring assembly space and a retreat where students — many of whom are adults with jobs, families and tough lives — can briefly immerse themselves in the calming “sound of time,” as Thomas Wolfe said about Pennsylvania Station (also by McKim, Mead & White).”

“The central rotunda is encircled with 16 columns of richly veined green Connemara marble. Hundreds of rosettes stud the deep coffers of the gilded dome. Glimpsed behind the classical statuary around the drum of the dome are the words of Job 28: “Where shall wisdom be found? Where is the place of understanding?””

“The answer used to be: all around the rotunda, where the library stacks were constructed with translucent glass floors to permit the greatest amount of daylight to reach the shelves.”

“Above the main floor, much remains as it was when the books and maps and geological specimens were moved out. The doors of small study rooms, tucked along a balcony between the big Connemara columns, are still labeled “Greek,” “Latin,” “Semitic,” “Romance,” “German,” “English.””