Grainger Library is the engineering library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is located north of green right behind Everitt Laboratory. Its number of tomes dwarfs those found in the main library at most other universities.

In my grad student days, I spent many hours in the Grainger Library making copies of various articles in IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. Late one afternoon I went into Grainger to make some copies, and all I happened to have on me was a wad of $1 bills. I get inside and spend about an hour looking through the shelves to find the exact journals I needed. I walk up to a copier and notice, for the first time, that there is no mechanism for accepting $1 bills. It only takes loose change. I walked around for five minutes or so looking for a change machine, since every library I've ever been to has a change machine where one can obtain some quarters.

Unfortunately, that would be every library in the world EXCEPT Grainger. There was no change machine. I asked the clerk at the front desk if there was one, and they were like, "no". My arms were getting tired from carrying around these 5 or 6 bound volumes of journals. I ask if they could make me some change, so I could use the copier. They said "no." I was totally dumbfounded. So I went off on a tirade about "what kind of place has copiers that take change but no change machine?" and that I "can't believe I have to walk three frickin blocks just to get $1 worth of quarters". I handed the clerk my journals and asked them to hold them for me while I went out for change.

20 minutes later, change in hand, I come back to the counter and ask for the journals I left. A different clerk is there this time, and hands back the stack of books with a sticky note on it which said "hold for an unruly patron."

An ironic conclusion to my stint at UIUC is my wife-to-be, a librarian...

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