And then I actually tried to obtain the book I needed.
I should say, I knew I wouldn't be able to check out this book. I was fully aware that I would have to photocopy
the pages that I needed. I was armed with the title, author, call number, and page numbers. I figured I would walk in, pay my standard ten cents a page, and take the train home. But it was not to be. First, they issued me a day pass, rather than a long-term one, without explaining to me that that was what I was getting. (I still have no idea how to obtain a longer-than-one-day pass, even though I followed their website's procedure.)
To actually get the book I needed to submit a call number request and have it brought to me, and this was only after I had to wait to be assigned a seat in the reading room. Then it turns out you can only photocopy up to 30 pages out of one book. Which is fine, whatever, I'm sure there's some sort of waste prevention going on there. And then they wouldn't let me make my own photocopies, I had to fill out ANOTHER request with my page numbers on it.
THEY CHARGED ME FORTY CENTS A PAGE. FORTY CENTS. THE FEDERAL COURT DOES NOT EVEN CHARGE
And seriously, the staff in the reading room acted like I was this huge imposition on them. Like making my photocopies was this MASSIVE imposition EVEN THOUGH it's THEIR JOB.
No one told me when my copies were ready, the guy at the register was a snot, and they took my card away when I left. Because writing "SEPTEMBER 23RD ONLY" on it was not enough.
I just felt like, the whole time I was there, I was treated like an inconvenience. And it's supposed to be this big-deal library, with fantastic archives and rare materials and I'm sure it has all that. But damn, are they stingy about letting you see it.