Thomas Jefferson Library makes way for Adelaide, Dewey and their goslings

Adelaide and family

In April, staff members noticed that a pair of geese had placed their nest right up against a window of the Thomas Jefferson Library on UMSL’s North Campus. The eggs hatched on May 19, and so far parents and goslings are adapting well to this next phase of family life. (Photos by Lena Marvin and Raleigh Muns)

One of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ librarians may have said it best: “Books aren’t the only thing getting cracking” at the campus library lately.

Adelaide smiling at goose cam

Nicknamed Adelaide, this goose persevered through a variety of weather extremes in recent weeks, making sure to spend a lot of time sitting on her nest to keep her offspring warm. She also seemed to greet curious passersby (on the other side of the glass inside UMSL’s Thomas Jefferson Library) with interest and moderate suspicion. Her partner – Dewey – typically stood guard about 30 feet away from the nest, encouraging fellow members of the UMSL community to steer clear.

On the afternoon of May 19, a local goose hatched five eggs in the nest she’d cleverly located right up against a window along the eastern wall of UMSL’s Thomas Jefferson Library building earlier this spring.

Thanks to a “goose cam” monitor set up to keep an eye on the developing brood without intruding, librarian Raleigh Muns quickly spotted the goslings’ anticipated debut and documented some of their earliest moments. He and colleague Lena Marvin were delighted at the successful conclusion, especially given the severe weather that hit the region in recent weeks.

“The nest survived all of the rains,” Marvin said. “I loved checking on Adelaide and her nest during the hectic time of finals here at the library. I like that the library was sheltering not only the students studying and researching for their papers but also a growing family right before our eyes.”

Library geese nest

Library staff members set up a “goose cam” several weeks ago to help them keep tabs on the nest without being invasive, and they were delighted when the goslings hatched earlier this month.

After library staff first noticed the nest in April, they placed a small whiteboard along the window beside the nest to provide the goose with some more privacy as well as remind passersby to be mindful.

“Shhh,” the sign read. “Canadian goose nesting.”

It also indicated who exactly these birds were: Adelaide and Dewey. That’s according to those inside the library who named them.

They drew inspiration from Adelaide Hasse, who figured out how to organize government documents back in the 1890s at the dawn of library science, and Melville Dewey, considered the father of library science and known for his invention of the Dewey Decimal System.

Supervised exploration

Under the close supervision of Adelaide and Dewey, recently hatched goslings Ryan 1, Ryan 2, Ryan 3, Ryan 4 and Ryan 5 – all christened in honor of Ryan Gosling – do some exploring around campus.

While the community of geese of which Adelaide, Dewey and now their five new offspring are all members sometimes earns mixed reviews from fellow UMSL dwellers, most everyone with whom Muns and Marvin have discussed the nest is a fan of this particular feathered family.

“As of Tuesday, they have all flown the coop and are now busy toddling around the Millennium Student Center ponds,” Muns reported. “They were probably the last clutch of eggs to hatch on campus this season.”

As for the five goslings’ names? Muns and company decided to keep it simple.

“The five goslings have all been given the same name, Ryan, as in Ryan 1, Ryan 2, and so forth,” Muns said. “That’s in honor of – you guessed it – Ryan Gosling.”

The UMSL Experience

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