Starting the next day, Sanshirō cut his forty hours of weekly lecture time by nearly half. He also ventured into the library. The building was vast and expansive from end to end, with a high ceiling and rows of windows down both walls. Only the entryway of the stack room was visible. Peeking in from out front, it appeared as though endless volumes were housed in its depths. As Sanshirō stood watching, a man emerged with several thick books and turned toward his left, entering the faculty reading room. Sanshirō envied him. He imagined entering the stacks, climbing to the second floor, climbing to the third floor, high above the buildings of Hongō, and isolating himself from the world to swim in the smell of paper -- He wanted to read. However, he didn't have any clear idea of what it was he should read. He would have to learn through experience. There seemed to be so much in there.
As a first-year student, Sanshirō was not allowed into the stack room. He had to use the card catalogue, so he bent over the boxes and began flipping cards one by one. No matter how many he flipped, there was always a next card with the name of another book. Finally, his shoulders began to ache. He lifted his gaze to give himself a break, and he surveyed the inside of the library. It was quiet, as one would expect, even though there were many users present. The heads at the far end looked like dark dots. He couldn't make out their facial features. Trees were visible through some of the high windows, backed by patches of sky. Sounds of the city carried from afar. Standing there, Sanshirō considered how still and deep was the life of a scholar. He called it quits for the day and returned home.