Steensland Hall: A student review

For the past two years Steensland has seemed like an odd and uninviting place to me. It could be because I’m a junior and the building has been off-limits for most of my college career, or perhaps because it looks very different from the rest of campus. For a long time it seems the college has felt the same, and the space has sat vacant for 20 years—but no more! Steensland is once again a library, as it was when it was built. However, it doesn’t feel like Rolvaag library, where students can go to study alone or in a group, or where you can seek a quiet floor to focus. Steensland feels like a home for books, and not necessarily a comfortable rest stop for students, at least at first glance.

Walking into Steensland you are greeted by a huge King Arthur-esque round table. It’s impressive and a little intimidating. High ceilings called for tall bookshelves, and you’ll immediately be overwhelmed by the seriousness of this space as an academic library. The Kierkegaard Library is a big deal, and its architecture reflects that. It’s the largest library devoted to Kierkegaard outside of Denmark, and it’s an incredible resource that allows people from all over the world to come to our campus to study Kierkegaard’s works and pursue excellence in philosophical studies. The top floor of Steensland definitely impresses that upon the visitor, which led me to quickly dart downstairs, a little weary of the larger space. 

The basement of Steensland is cozy. It’s similar to a classroom — there are few large tables with plenty of chairs and a whiteboard. I think it would be the perfect place to meet up if you have a group project or a club meeting, although the library’s hours, Monday-Friday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm, might make that a little tricky. Despite this, I think the space is worth considering if you’re looking for a place to meet — it’s a little out of the way but that probably just means your group will have some more privacy and freedom. 

If you are interested in the library not as a study space but for the books, I have to say that I was blown away by the amazing volumes we have. I’m majoring in Nordic studies, with Danish as my language of focus, and there are some amazing Danish books there that I will absolutely be using as resources for language practice and study. Beyond just Danish, there are a multitude of volumes in different languages that I would encourage you to explore yourself — especially if you are interested in philosophy or in the Nordic region. Kierkegaard’s library is a great resource, and I’m glad it’s one we finally have more access to.

peters70@stolaf.edu

Teague Lars Peterson-McGuire is from Oconomowoc, Wis.

His majors are film and media studies, and Nordic studies.

 

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