The ‘Reindeer Reading Room’


The new Reading Room in the Harold B. Lee library is taking on the holiday season with some good books, a fireplace and a couple of reindeer.

Students may want to drop by the second-floor Reading Room area to study in a cozier Christmas environment.

The new holiday mascots of the Reading Room, Dunder and Blitzen, watch over weary students studying for finals. Photo courtesy Cali O'Connell, HBLL promotions manager
The new holiday mascots of the Reading Room, Dunder and Blixem, watch over weary students studying for finals. (Photo courtesy Cali O’Connel, HBLL promotions manager)

“Whether someone is looking to do some serious studying for finals or wants to do some light reading or just wants to take a quick nap between classes, the Reading Room is the premier quiet space in the Lee Library,” said Josh Sorensen, the Periodicals Department head for the HBLL.

The Reading Room has been completely remodeled with a fireplace, couches and the entire sample reading collection.

Cali O’Connell, the promotion and outreach manager for the HBLL, said the remodel was instigated by students.

“They wanted a kind of homey place (to study),” O’Connell said.

O’Connell said the Reading Room has earned the nickname the “Reindeer Reading Room.”

This is partly because of the new reindeer guests above the fireplace, namely, Dunder and Blixem, whose names derive from the original Donner and Blitzen in “The Night before Christmas” poem.

Roger Layton, the library communications manger, said the third reindeer is still waiting for a name and invited students to give suggestions on the HBLL Facebook page.

O’Connell said they hope to keep a year-round reindeer influence in the Reading Room because the donor who made the renovations possible had a unique tie to reindeer.

The donations for the Reading Room remodel came from the Fitz B. Burns Foundation, which donates a lot to scholarships at BYU as well.

Fitz B. Burns, the foundation’s namesake and founder, was described as an incredibly hard worker and visionary. Burns came from modest beginnings but became a millionaire by the time he was 30. By the time he was 31, he was living in a tent due to the stock market crash during the Great Depression.

Burns started from scratch once more, and through hard work he became a millionaire again.

“He actually bought a herd of, essentially, reindeer,” O’Connell said.

She also said Burns did it because he loved all things Christmas. He often brought the reindeer to the shopping centers during the holiday season.

Before Burns passed away, he invested his money and created the Fitz B. Burns Foundation so his money could continue to help others.

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