Perhaps you’re feeling the residual effects of senioritis. Or maybe your desk has been relegated to a noisy common room. Nothing kills a party like announcing that you’re headed to the library, but if you’re looking for a moment’s peace, struggling with those papers and problem sets you saved until the last minute, or are just completely anal about finishing your work, the library is the hottest place to be. And let’s be honest — your ability to pore over books for hours at a time is how you landed yourself here among the ranks of the neurotic. So here’s the rundown on where to study with the best of them.
Let’s start with the biggest and the best: Sterling Memorial Library (SML), a behemoth of a biblioteca located squarely in the center of campus and filled with plush reading rooms and 4 million books. The heart of Sterling is the stacks, a shady labyrinth of 15 levels of books shrouded in darkness with intermittent desks hidden in corners. It’s no surprise then that stacks are central to Yale lore as the ultimate place to have sex on campus (see Clip-and-Save). You’re more likely to run into graduate students researching esoteric subjects, but this is your destination if you’re looking to take a break from civilization. Also worth a visit are Sterling’s reading rooms. Several large ones are on the main floor and smaller ones are scattered on seven more floors. Many swear by the Starr Reading Room, a cavernous, beautiful space located on the main floor. On a busy night, it’s packed but nearly silent; make noise and suffer some mean looks.
Another popular reading room in Sterling is the “Green Room,” a throwback to Yale in the old days when good ol’ boys pranced around campus and debated President James K. Polk’s newest domestic policy reform. The lighting is one notch above candelit, but the room is heated well in the winter and the couches are cushy. Some smaller spots worth exploring also include the American Studies Reading Room with purple chairs on the second floor and the Music Library, where you can grab a favorite classical or jazz album from an unbeatable selection and enjoy music while you work at a listening station (no sneaking CDs out to burn though).
Cross Campus Library (CCL), is located underneath SML and is straight out of another decade (some say the 70s) with bold-colored chairs and oatmeal-colored walls. CCL has countless weenie bins (see Yalexicon) where Yale’s most hard-core studiers hide from humanity and then stumble out in a daze. Beware of the weenie bins: stay in there too long and you might end up huddled in a corner drooling and rocking back and forth.
But Yalies aren’t just holed up in SML. Since each of Yale’s 12 residential colleges also houses a library, you’re bound to find something to suit your eager-to-be-studying mood. The plus of residential college libraries is that they’re open 24 hours, whereas Sterling closes at midnight and CCL at 2 a.m. most nights. Some require a key, but with some ingenuity and help from friends, any of these 12 libraries can be yours for the evening. We recommend Branford, JE and Saybrook.
Some more unconventional choices include Linsly-Chittenden Hall (LC) and the New Haven Public Library. During the day, LC is home to Yale’s English Department; but at night, you can have a seminar room all to yourself. Janitors cleaning up rooms and occasional games of laser tag are standard fare after midnight. And just past Calhoun on Elm Street is the beautifully renovated New Haven Public Library, where becoming a card-carrying member takes two minutes tops and even more studying spaces await. No threat of running into your TA here while doing last week’s reading, either.
Of course, you could forgo the ordeal of finding just the right place to set up camp only to be kicked out at closing time by opting to stay in your room. But Yale equals learning, learning equals books, and books equal libraries. So be a little creative in finding the right space to hit the books, and happy studying.
— Yale Daily News