Today I received my very own PIMS library card.Â PIMS is the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto; it has a lot of stuff.Â A lot.Â Of cool stuff.Â Stuff that’s not so easy to find here in Canada, but they’ve got it.Â It’s been gathered over some 70 years of existence.Â PIMS library is a national treasure.
This library is restricted access. You need to get special permission to hold a library card from PIMS.Â It’s also non-circulating.Â I always got non-circulating, but I thought they were kind of uncool for being restricted.Â But the priestly librarian was very friendly to me when the director of the Centre for Mediaeval Studies (he’s also part of Classics and is supervising my special essay) introduced me.
I think the restricted access thing is to keep noise levels down and wear and tear on the books down.
Anyway, if you want something mediaeval, chances are PIMS has it.
So why, you ask, does a Classicist get himself a library card to the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies?
Because I’m going to be studying Late Antiquity, which is at the fringes of my discipline and is the beginning of the cultural shift into the Middle Ages.Â More precisely, I’m going to study John Cassian, who brought the Desert Fathers to the West and founded monasteries in Gaul (France), thus forever changing the face of Western monasticism and leading to fellows like St. Benedict of Nursia.
The PIMS Library has lots of books about the Church Fathers, even those who aren’t Late Antique, so it’s a valuable resource for those of us interested in Patristics.