Low-key libraries: seeking the perfect study space

April 29, 2015 by Gabriella Carmona, Features Editor

New Sawyer! The library to beat all libraries here at Williams College. As the shiny new toy this year, students have flocked from every corner of campus for the mere chance of attaining one of its coveted study rooms or cubicles. And of course it has such a mass appeal. Its huge wall-spanning windows, nicely-cushioned lounging bean bags and non-reservable study rooms give all  entering students a glimmer of hope as their heavy bookbags weigh down on their very souls.

But as Sawyer’s reputation grows its cramped quarters leave many quite skeptical of the library dream. The inability to find a spot has left students studying on the streets. But, if you are one of these unlucky few, all hope is not lost – there are many  more libraries to choose from, amidst Sawyer’s seeming monopoly in this library market.

Hardy House 

Looking for seclusion? Consider Hardy House. As part of the Davis Center, Hardy House is located behind Science Quad in Morley Circle. As you enter, the only noise you hear is the squeaking of your own feet against the old wooden floorboards. It’s not much of a library if you are looking for a book to check out, as it has only a limited selection from two cased bookshelves, but it does have an array of desks and tables. With a sparse few offices on the upper level, Hardy House doesn’t get much traffic noise from its occupants. Hardy House is definitely the go-to option for those needing a quiet place to cram for last-minute exams. Located near Spring Street, Hardy House provides easy access to those that find study snacks a necessity.

Bronfman Library

If you are looking for a little more camaraderie while studying, you may want to look into Bronfman Library. Located on the third floor of Bronfman in science quad, Bronfman Library is likely the most recognizable library on this list. Located next to an array of offices, Bronfman is surrounded by much more commuter traffic and definitely a lot more noise than some of the other, more secluded spots. The library has one main lounging area for studying with an array of large working tables to spread out all your assignments. A number of students can be found during the day working studiously on their own. Its carpeted floor and hanging decor make Bronfman welcoming, but with the caveat of a definite a lack of privacy, since you are working in the center of the library where most would pass by to get to offices and the top floor. The top floor is home to a number of professors’ offices, and has seats for studying, but the occasional student organization meeting and office banter can be a bit more distracting while studying.

Perry Library

Perry House, located on Route 2, is usually seen as a place of living and social gathering. Though its library is generally used for more social events on the weekends, it definitely provides a nice study spot during the day. You will likely come across one or two other students studying in small cubicle desks located on the outer perimeter of the room. Its carpeted floor and general wooden aesthetic definitely gives it a cozy but regal feel. Located in the back of Perry House, across the hall from the infamous Goat Room, Perry Library is generally a close second in commuter traffic to Hardy House. For a nice study break, there is an array of couches, as well as an old piano that is occasionally played by the house’s occupants. If you don’t mind the occasional piano playing, however, Perry does provide a nice study spot at a very focal point on campus, only a few short minutes from Paresky Center.

So for those who think Sawyer is the only option, maybe you should branch out a bit and try out some new libraries. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your perfect spot!

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