Finding a place to study on this vast campus for a newly arrived freshman (or even for some that have already spent some time here) can be a daunting task. There are so many options, and today we’d like to give you some insight into just some of the places that you can sleep study all night long.

1. Main Stacks – Daniel Radding

Main Stacks is that way.
Main Stacks is that way.

In hindsight, we probably should not have sent one of our cub writers to Main Stacks, because it is really easy to get lost down there if you don’t know what you’re doing. Main Stacks is a HUGE library. To give you a sense of its size, consider this: You can enter from Doe and exit from Moffitt. There are four floors total (though you can only study on the lower three) with 400 seats available for individual study. Main Stacks offers a large variety of study environments, which we’re going to break down for you.

This has recently been dubbed the Hallway of Doom.

This has recently been dubbed the Hallway of Doom.

Standing Desks

There is a surprising amount of standing desk space in Main Stacks. And no one uses them. While people struggle to find a desk to sit in during the busiest hours, the standing desks remain empty. We’re surprised that people don’t use them, since standing desks are currently a popular trend. Plus standing keeps you from falling asleep and wasting a perfectly good study night.

Study Carrels

Yes, they are called Study Carrels, and no, we didn’t name them that. It’s what they’re called on the official library website. The Study Carrels are the closest you can get to your own personal office. In fact, graduate students can rent them out to be theirs for a semester. The Study Carrels are similar to half-cubicles. They give you a relatively private work area as well as the luxury of two power outlets, a desk light and an Ethernet jack. If you need to get some serious work done in seclusion, the Study Carrels are for you.

These are desks.

Desk Stations

We’re not sure what the specific name for these desks is, so we’ve deemed them “Desk Stations” (If you have a better name, please tell us in the comments). These are some of the most coveted spots in the Main Stacks. Like the Study Carrels, they offer the luxuries of your own two power outlets, an Ethernet jack and your own desk lamp. But unlike the Study Carrels, the Desk Stations’ location and openness makes them appealing to people who don’t want complete isolation or just like to people-watching study breaks. The majority of the Desk Stations are in an area of level C where the ceiling is high and there is a fair amount of natural light. All these elements together make for one the most pleasant study environments on campus.

Long Tables

Like many other libraries on campus, Main Stacks has big tables where you can spread out your materials and work. Each table has lamps that run down its center. The lamps have Ethernet jacks as well as power outlets. If you’re with friends, this can be a nice place to study in each others’ presence. However, you will still need to study in silence.

Group Study Rooms

If you want to have a true group study session where you can have some real discussion, then hit up one of the study rooms. Main Stacks has four large study rooms that can fit eight to 10 people and 13 small study rooms that fit four to five people. You can even reserve study rooms up to a week in advance through the online reservation system. The rooms have AirBears as well as chalkboards, so you’ll be able to research and show everyone your work.

Main Stacks has a lot of options that make it appealing and one of the most popular spots on campus. Plus, it has some of the best hours. You don’t have to worry too much about getting kicked out when it closes, because it’s open until 2 a.m. every day.

This is a view of the floor. It has no relevance to studying, but it's fun to look at.

This is a view of the floor. It has no relevance to studying, but it's fun to look at.

2. C. V. Starr East Asian Library – Rachel Sutton

East Asian Library

C. V. Starr East Asian Library

We love the East Asian library because:

  • Its incredible modern architecture inside and out.
  • It’s quiet, unlike Moffit, where taking a seat too close to the elevators can make one’s head start to ring.
  • Lots of cubicles! We all fight over them during RRR week (especially in Main Stacks), but here there are rows and rows of them. Not to mention those spiffy futuristic-looking blue lights.
  • Really cool “carpet” art along many of the walls upstairs. We don’t know if we’re allowed to touch this, but…
  • DIY copy room!
  • Enough outlets to prevent a charger war.
  • No headache-inducing fluorescent overhead lights.
  • Lots of cool periodicals, newspapers, and publications in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and other Asian languages for free use.

3. Kresge Engineering Library – Joonhae Ahn

Kresge Engineering Library

Kresge Engineering Library

As freshmen who lived in triple on a pretty social floor, we made the Engineering Library our study haven. It was about a five-minute walk from Foothill, and we would always reserve one of those fancy, sound-proof glass study rooms when we needed to dust off those psychology flashcards. In fact, we began going there at least every other day.

We’re not sure how the Engineering Library came to be one of our favorite libraries — but it was definitely “love at first study.” It’s not just us, either. Just a few days ago, we brought our senior friend over to the library for some studying. We have never seen somebody so excited about a library: “Wow, it’s so nice! I love it! I can’t believe I haven’t been in here before! This is the perfect place to study!”

Plus … no more awkward noises when moving a chair while you settle in to a desk in a silent library. The chairs in the Engineering Library roll quietly so as not to betray your arrival. And the Engineering Library isn’t actually silent … so no more awkward sneezes that seem to reverberate through the cosmos.

DO NOT wait until senior year to discover this jewel in the world of study spots.

For those of you who might not otherwise brave the trek to Northside (read: if you aren’t an engineer) and opt to stop at Moffit instead, you might be asking what’s so great about the engineering library. The answers to most questions you may have are below:

Q: What is the Engineering Library’s first impression? Why does it seem “so nice?”

A: The library’s “warm” color scheme, plentiful lighting and clusters of cushiony sofas make for a charming study environment, a place you can envision yourself relaxed on a sofa and buried in a textbook on a chilly evening.

Q: Can you talk in the Engineering Library?

A: Yes, you can talk in the Engineering Library —  which brings us to our next point of interest.

Q: Is it a good place for study groups?

It’s actually an ideal place for group study — lots of group study tables, long couches, study rooms and did we mention tables? They’re also in different corners of the room depending on how chatty you want to be. Some areas, like the tables behind the library shelves, tend to be in louder environments than tables to the sides. There are also study cubicles specifically for groups that don’t need to be reserved before use.

Q: So about those study rooms … How are they?

A: Personally, we find them much nicer than the ones in Main Stacks. Do the study rooms at Main Stacks have huge flat-screen TVs and a shiny whiteboards? Not the last time we checked! The maximum capacity for all rooms is 10 people, so you can fit in a sizable crowd.

Q: How do I reserve a study room?

You can reserve a study room online under your student ID here.

You can also try to place a walk-in reserve at the library counter. You can reserve a room for up to two hours. Sometimes, there are rooms that have not been reserved at the time, OR a person might not have shown up to claim his or her reserved room. If you don’t claim your reservation after 15 minutes, you forfeit the study room.

Q: What if you need a quiet place to study?

Like we said before, there are definitely quieter areas in the library for individual studying. For example, the first floor has rows of more private study cubicles along the sides.

Q: How are the computers?

The Engineering Library does not have a fancy computer lab like those found in VLSB and the Moffitt basement. For browsing the Web or quickly going over homework, however, these computers work fine. Just don’t expect them to come with a Microsoft Office suite or any fancy applications! You can always work from Google Drive, however.

Q: Are there any comfortable reading spots?

Yes. Can we say sofas? And more sofas? They’re found everywhere — first floor, second floor, left side, right side.

Sofa + Whiteboard = Happy Studying

Sofa + Whiteboard = Happy Studying

Q: I’m still not impressed.

We’re sorry — did you not catch the part about whiteboards? You don’t need to reserve a study room to use them. They’re in the study group cubicles on the first floor and in the spaces between study rooms on the second level. If you have not tried studying with a whiteboard before, you are missing out. And if you’ve been using those dusty Main Stacks chalkboards, it’s time to think about an upgrade.

We really do love whiteboards.

We really do love whiteboards.

Image sources: Daniel Radding, Rachel Sutton and Joonhae Ahn, The Daily Californian

Paul said:
Nov 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

It’s not “corrals” it’s “carrels.”

I did a double take reading this, and wondered if Cal really had invented a different name than every other library I’ve known. But it’s actually the same everywhere, carrels.

a2710730 said:
Nov 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I’ve said that least 2710730 times. SKC was here…