A Real All-Nighter

At some point during my freshman year (1983/1984), about ten of us Williams women decided to spend the entire night (undetected) in Sawyer Library.  With visions of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in our heads, we hatched our plans over dinners, rugby practices and a few beers at the Log.

On the agreed-upon night, we separately entered Sawyer roughly 30 minutes before closing time. Our backpacks were filled with beer cans and snack food instead of books and pens. We stashed our bags in various library hiding places, entered bathrooms all over the library and hid in the stalls with our feet up and bags.  No talking allowed!  We heard the library closing announcement and waited nervously and patiently as the library emptied out.  About 15 minutes after the lights went out, we exited the bathrooms and made our way to the designated rendezvous point at the top of one of the “two story” reading carousels.

We had a fun night in the dark and quiet library, drinking beer and getting to know each other through conversations that can only occur late at night. Around 4 am, however, the novelty wore off, so we decided to leave the library (again separately because, well, that’s what spy movies had taught us to do). We ran back to our entries and houses to catch a few hours of sleep before classes that day.

The next day, one of us placed an announcement in the Daily Adviser–“We could have read any book we wanted!” it announced.  We thought we were pretty clever!

As a 18-year old, I considered what we had done to be a major act of rebellion and was convinced that we’d all be expelled if the college ever found out. As a 48-year old, our night in the library seems rather quaint and quite tame.  But the event also crystallizes for me the essence of Williams–lively conversation with good friends surrounded by knowledge.

–Suzanne Biemiller, Class of 1987