Impending Alderman Library renovation: A guide to study spaces on Grounds

A variety of study spaces — that aren’t in Alderman

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The second floor of Clemons Library opened Oct. 4

Raymundo Mora | Cavalier Daily

Dean of Libraries John Unsworth’s April announcement that Alderman Library will be closing for renovation starting Spring 2020 left many students in search of new study spaces on Grounds. 

Popular among students for its academic and classic feel, Alderman offers 850 study seats. However, its closure — which will last from May 2020 until May 2023 — means students will soon be unable to spend late nights holed up in the Alderman stacks.

With Alderman’s impending closure in mind, the University has compiled an interactive web map of study spaces on and off Grounds. Jill Heinze, director of user experience at the library, says the University created the map through a combination of research and student input to sort study spaces into different categories.

“We knew through doing user research, that there were certain characteristics of spaces that students seem to be most interested in — so everything from more outlets, what kind of lighting was available, was this a group study space or somewhere that you could go if you needed it to be quiet,” Heinze said. 

Clemons Library 

Clemons Library is open 24 hours per day from Sunday at 10 a.m. to Friday at midnight and Saturday from 9 a.m. to midnight — offering an ideal location for those typing essays into the early hours of the morning. 

Clemons also provides vastly different noise levels on each of its four floors. While the fourth floor offers a chattier, social atmosphere, the first floor requires silence from its studiers. The latter will reopen in fall 2019 after a year of renovation and will bring with it 350 available seats to those seeking quiet study time. 

Students will find a variety of resources and technology available on the second and third floors. The Robertson Media Center houses 3D printers, an Oculus Rift virtual reality simulator and a recording studio. Meanwhile, students can utilize the Dathel and John Georges Student Center, located on the second floor, for academic and financial advising services. 

Charles L. Brown Science & Engineering Library in Clark Hall

Referred to by most students as “Clark,” the Brown Library mimics Alderman’s quiet, scholarly environment. Like Alderman, it also has a Greenberry’s Coffee Co. — which accepts Plus Dollars, Cavalier Advantage, card and cash in exchange for coffee and snacks. 

On the first floor of Clark, students can set up at cubicles, shared tables or in reservable group study rooms. On the lower levels, students can find silent study spaces amidst stacks of science and engineering-related texts. 

The Multicultural Student Center and LGBTQ Center

Currently located in the basement of Newcomb Hall, the MSC and LGBTQ Center offer dynamic and social study atmospheres along with various other resources and events. 

The MSC — which supports underrepresented students on Grounds — operates under the Office of the Dean of Students and provides couches, tables, desktop computers and free printing before 2 p.m. The center often hosts cultural programming events and is available by reservation for student meetings after 5 p.m.

The LGBTQ Center — adjacent to the MSC — offers a similarly welcoming space to LGBTQ+ students and allies looking to study, lounge and learn about the community.

The LGBTQ Center and MSC each seat a maximum of 49 people in their current locations. However, the University recently announced its decision to move the MSC to what was previously the Newcomb Game Room — located on the third floor of Newcomb — which hits capacity close to 600 people. The LGBTQ Center will relocate to an undecided third-floor location. 

The Rotunda

Perched at the head of the Lawn, the Rotunda stands not only as the architectural centerpiece of the University, but also as a study area. Students can pore over textbooks in the Oval Rooms located on the main level as well as upstairs in the Dome Room. While typically open to students every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Rotunda will offer extended study hours during Alderman’s closure. 

Smaller, lesser known libraries

The University houses 12 libraries on Grounds, yet most students spend their time in three — Alderman, Clemons and Clark. However, a variety of smaller libraries are scattered throughout Grounds. 

Closer to Central Grounds, students can study in the Music Library, located in Old Cabell Hall. The space provides a quiet environment as well as practice space for musicians. Close by, the Balz Philosophy Library in Cocke Hall is geared toward graduate students, but it may be used by all students in search of a quiet space. 

For dorm occupants and Engineering students, the Gilmer STEM Space, Physics Library and Thornton Stacks offer seats for those hoping to avoid the trek to Central Grounds. The Gilmer STEM Commons is located on the second floor of Gilmer Hall — a short walk from most first-year housing. For Engineering students looking to study in between classes, the Physics Library, located on the third floor of the Physics Building, and the Thornton Stacks, in the basement of Thornton Hall, offer tables, desktop computers and printing.

Have any tips?

This list is far from an exhaustive enumeration of all study spaces on Grounds, so students hoping to inform others of their favorite spots can email study-map@virginia.edu to put them on the interactive study map. 

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