Butler 301

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Lost in the immensity of Butler 301, you will feel like the microscopic, insignificant part of Columbia's long and grandiose history that you are.

Butler 301, otherwise known as the Lawrence A. Wien Reference Room—and colloquially referred to as the Ref Room—, is one of the largest and grandest rooms in Butler Library. On one wall is a case of Wien's many decorations and personal effects: honorary degrees, awards, sports equipment, and a sword. Looking at these things at 2 a.m. will (a) make you doubt yourself and the paper you are dashing off, but also (b) hopefully lead you to reflect on greatness.

The Ref Room is filled with atlases, encyclopedias, and other large books that no one has really used or needed since the advent of Wikipedia and Google Maps, including the complete Cambridge Ancient History. With its soaring ceilings and chandeliers, it an inspiring place to study, populated with fairly serious students—unlike Butler 209, which is a comparatively vulgar room (filled with comparatively vulgar people).

High over the main portals to the room is engraved a quotation of Francis Bacon: "A Man is But What He Knoweth."