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Library Levels: What Your Preferred Library Study Space Says About You

While some Boston College students enjoy munching on blueberry muffins at long tables in the Rat or sipping cold, sweet coffees at The Chocolate Bar or Hillside Cafe while studying, I am a library girl through and through. 

While most of my friends and roommates are library lovers like myself, rarely do we all find ourselves at the same library, on the same floor, seated in the same section, at the same time. Each individual library and floor tends to attract a different crowd of BC students. As a seasoned library studier, here is my certified and 100 percent correct analysis of what your preferred library space says about you. 

If You Prefer O’Neill … 

If O’Neill is your preferred library then I am happy to announce that you are correct—O’Neill is in fact the best library on campus.

Although O’Neill lacks the high ceilings and candescent, but slightly scary, stained glass windows that Bapst is famous for, to me, O’Neill feels like home.

When I first came to BC as a freshman, I spent the majority of my time in O’Neill. Its five different floors and array of study spaces are ideal for any and all study needs. Each floor has its own personality, and it’s easy to move around if you need a change of scenery.

The first floor, or bottom floor of O’Neill, is where the most feral academic weapons study, and it’s popular for several reasons. It is close to the vending machines that only sometimes work—when they do it’s magical—as well as Hillside Cafe, which is located on the first floor of Maloney Hall. It’s also a judgment-free zone. I’ve witnessed people asleep and snoring in the armchairs, athletes riding their electric scooters to the elevator, and people crying in the booths. During a late-night study session last finals season, I laid down in the middle of the floor, and no one batted an eye, which, to me, perfectly encapsulates the energy of the first floor. 

The third floor is for students who enjoy studying with a bit of background noise. O’Neill three tends to be favored by students studying with their friends or working on group projects. 

Even though I usually don’t study on the third floor anymore, it holds a special place in my heart. It is where I bonded with one of my now–best friends in the first semester of freshman year while avoiding our political science and theology readings, and where I called my mom stressed about roommate drama. It’s a great pit stop between classes to take a moment and chill.

O’Neill four and five are serene. These floors are favored by students who prefer to study in silence, but don’t want to be judged for making a little bit of noise—which would happen in Bapst. My favorite spots on the fourth and fifth floors are the desks and tables that face the windows looking out on Lower Campus. The stunning views of the Boston skyline, rows of colorful bookshelves, and natural light create the ideal atmosphere for grinding out work. During exam season, both the fourth and fifth floors tend to be the most crowded for these reasons. If you are lucky enough to stake out a spot, I am jealous of you. 

If You Prefer Bapst…

There are two types of students who study in Bapst—those who must romanticize their school work to be productive and those who have a bit of a superiority complex. I will confess that briefly during the first weeks of my freshman year, I was a Bapst girl, but the lack of any kind of noise and vastness of the main floor made me more anxious than productive. 

One time, a close friend of mine asked if he was allowed to type in Bapst or if people would judge him for being too loud. To me, that perfectly encapsulates the energy of the space, but many Bapst frequenters would likely disagree with me. Whether you prefer the cave-like first floor or the large, wide-open second floor, the beauty of Bapst and its silence make it a popular study space for many BC students. It is an ideal place for sitting with a large book and reading for hours or banging out a last-minute paper for your Philosophy of the Person I class. 

Wait, BC Has a Library? 

Last but not least, there is that small group of BC students who rarely go to the library. These students tend to be the most chaotic of all, and, truthfully, I am a little afraid of them.

They are “function on five hours of sleep or less, chug a Celsius before class, open their notebook to a random page and start writing” kind of students. Somehow though, they are the strongest of us all. While their twin XL beds may not have the same studious vibe as a desk in O’Neill or a table in Bapst, these students manage to emerge fully functioning from the chaos unscathed. 

Whether you are a O’Neill fanatic, a Bapst stan, or enjoy studying in your bed, remember it’s what works best for you that matters the most. And who knows, you might just discover something new about yourself by checking out a different library study space.

October 27, 2022