Since arriving on Grounds for the spring semester, I have explored every inch of the renovated Alderman Library — its beautiful interior design, winding hallways and hundreds of sitting areas. I have compiled a list of my favorite spots. If you need recommendations on a new signature study nook, keep reading.
1. “The Harry Potter Room”
Formally, this room is known as the McGregor Room, but students endearingly refer to it as the Harry Potter Room. It certainly feels like magic. A small iron gate guards the door, giving way to dark mahogany walls and clusters of leather lounge chairs. If you are looking for quiet and comfort, you will find both in this picturesque second-floor room. You might need to channel your inner Hogwarts student though — it takes some wizardry to grab a seat in this popular room.
2. The Skylight Study Courts
Another second-floor gem, these twin study courts give you a unique feeling of being inside and outside at the same time. High glass ceilings let in ample natural light and allow you to visually track the time of day. These rooms are also encircled by brick walls, a nice touch that resembles the exterior of many University buildings. Since this space draws in many admirers, it may not be the most private study spot, but it surely is a must-see location.
3. The Stacks
Between the rows and rows of bookshelves on the fourth and fifth floors, I have found some of my favorite places. I especially love the overlook on the fifth floor, an area that feels open, quiet and private all at once. The surrounding tables are large enough for groups of friends to study together. Plus, the tables have charging ports — a perfect feature for someone like me whose devices always need a charge.
4. The Lobby
The first time I walked into Alderman, my jaw dropped to the floor — figuratively, of course. The pale yellow walls and huge glass windows fill this fourth-floor entrance with a joyful brightness. It may be difficult to trace your steps to find the exit of Alderman, but there is nothing like a lobby for easy access and exit. If you sit near the window, you can split your time between studying and watching passersby bundled up in their winter coats.
5. “The Nooks”
My nickname for the rooms in the fourth-floor wings, “The Nooks” are intimate areas that get less foot traffic than other rooms in Alderman. Cubicle desks grant students personal space, and the tall windows lend the rooms an airy feel. These windows also offer scenic views of the University Chapel, the Rotunda and Memorial Gymnasium. These rooms guarantee that I can get work done without feeling stuck in a jail cell — Clark Library basement, I am talking to you.
6. The Checkered Room
It is hard to miss the checkered floor of this fourth-floor room, which lies adjacent to the lobby. The black and white tiles make for a playful study space. Although the checkered pattern does not quite match the style of the rest of the library, it makes this room distinctively special. Its long tables make it a go-to space for group work and study sessions.
7. “The Puzzle Place”
I was caught off guard by the numerous puzzles on the fourth floor of Alderman, but they seem to have found a permanent home there. Find a study spot at a nearby table, and whenever you need a break from homework, walk over to the puzzles for some problem-solving fun. While I have not made many contributions to these puzzles, I am proud to say my suitemate and I placed one puzzle piece in the right place.
8. The Asian Studies Library
The Stanley and Lucie Weinstein Buddhist and Asian Studies Library may sound exclusive, but it is open to everyone. The second-floor room is a beautiful space that honors Asian literature and culture. Check out the artwork that adorns the walls and the friendly potted plants in the corners. This room has a character that is unmatched by anywhere else on Grounds, and I encourage you to check it out.
9. “The Medieval Lights Area”
Go look up “medieval lights” right now. I am convinced that the architects did the same while designing the circular light fixtures at the rear end of the fourth floor. High overhead, these rings of light make studying feel royal. If it were not modern day, there could be candles hanging as if from a castle in the Middle Ages. Additionally, the desks in this area have multiple seats around them, which is a good thing to know if you are planning on doing group work.
10. The Tables Near the Clem Connection
Studying near the connection to Clemons makes traveling from a solo study session in one library to a group project meeting in another very easy. It also makes you feel like you just found a hidden escape route. I feel like a spy whenever I pass through the tunnel connecting the second floor of Alderman with the second floor of Clemons. The connection is a convenient and fun addition to both libraries. If you get tired of Alderman, you can just channel your inner spy and pop on over to Clemons through this passageway.