Whether you’re a senior or a first-year, a wealth of undiscovered features remains scattered across Mount Holyoke’s campus. These treasures are often hidden in plain sight. Chances are you’ve visited Wilder on countless occasions, but never felt the need to explore the basement; if you did you would discover Mount Holyoke’s one of a kind Bellatrix Library.
Located on the south side of Wilder’s basement, the Bellatrix Library was created by none other than Bellatrix, an official Mount Holyoke org that has existed since the 1970s. It is the self-proclaimed science fiction, fantasy and anime hub on campus. Home to a vast array of books, graphic novels, science fiction anthologies, DVDs, VHS tapes, fabric patterns, art and more; the Bellatrix Library is a science fiction junkies’ dream.
The library functions almost as a resource archive. With various out of print books, 1970s Star Trek fan-fiction, a series of science fiction anthologies as old as the 1940s and a collection of autographs from celebrities such as Jane Yolen, an esteemed author of folklore, fantasy and science fiction, and Gary Gygax, writer and game designer best known for co-creating the role-playing game “Dungeons & Dragons.”
The library even has a series of books written by Mount Holyoke alums, including the prolific science fiction author Susan Shwartz ’72. She was a member of Bellatrix and dedicated her wildly successful novel to the student org.
Perhaps the library’s greatest feature is that you don’t have to be a member of the club, or even a student to check out materials. Bellatrix encourages all staff members to take advantage of the library. To take out an item, you simply have to supply a valid email address and sign the item out in the library’s ledger.
The library operates largely under the honor code, though as with any library, after your due date expires you’ll be gently badgered via email until you return what was checked out.
The Bellatrix Library is maintained by five elected student librarians who manage the library and provide friendly assistance to all who find themselves there. Open from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday evenings, students are free to peruse the library’s collection, take out materials or even just cozy up on a cushion and read. The librarians have even compiled an online catalog that can be found on Bellatrix’s website, so students can search for books ahead of time.
A few years ago, the library was stuffed into a closet in 1837, it was a series of cardboard boxes filled with books. Now that Bellatrix is in Wilder’s basement, it is equipped with book cases, arm chairs and tons of storage space.
Arguably, the least known resource on campus, Bellatrix is a historical treasure as well as a great destination for book lovers, science fiction junkies and anyone looking for an interesting read and good company. All Mount Holyoke students should take advantage of this hidden treasure.