How to Access OS X Lion’s Hidden User Library Folder

A bit of a geeky one this – although I’m not sure how that’s going to make it any different from all the other posts here – but I found a solution today for a Mac OS-based issue that’s been bugging me for a while now, ever since I upgraded to Lion. For some reason known only to themselves, Apple have decided to make the User library folder in OS X 10.7 invisible from the Finder. When you browse to Mac HD > Users > username and try to access the Library folder, it just isn’t there. It always used to be, but now it seems that Apple think that the average Mac user is far too stupid to be granted access to this particular folder. This can make things awkward if you want to do stuff like delete a rogue preference file, manually install an AU plug-in or access any of the Application Support folders contained therein.
Until this morning, this was only slightly irksome, but when I urgently needed to delete an unwanted file from the folder where my iWork templates are stored, it suddenly became an issue for which I had to go hunting for a solution. This turned out to be so surprisingly simple, while at the same time completely counter-intuitive, that I decided to post it here for anyone with a similar issue.
To access the hidden user library folder in OS X 10.7, here’s what you do.

1. Hold down your Mac’s Alt (Option) key.
2. In the Finder’s ‘Go’ menu, click ‘Library’
3. You’re in!

Notice that, if you release the Alt key while the ‘Go’ menu is open, the Library option disappears. Why we now have to jump through hoops to get to this particular bit of our hard drives is anybody’s guess, but you do have to wonder why Apple don’t let users know why they’ve done this, and how to get around it when you really need to.

Now I just need to find a way to rearrange the items in the Finder sidebar so I don’t have to scroll down to eject my external drive, and figure out why the Help browser always floats above all other open windows, no matter which app is in the foreground. Then my post-Lion life will be complete.