Libraries: finding the perfect fit

Postscript explores the five main libraries of Queen’s campus

Lederman Law Library, home of the ambitious law students.
Lederman Law Library, home of the ambitious law students.
Douglas Library—hello, Harry Potter!
Douglas Library—hello, Harry Potter!

The month of October means three things to me.

1) We live in Kingston, so October is the month when the inevitable doom of winter arrives. Time to break out the thermals and winter jackets.

2) Halloween is coming. Time to prepare the costume, and time to prepare the liver for whatever damage may result.

3) Midterms. Time to crack open those textbooks I’ve been avoiding.

And this year, instead of stumbling blindly through my midterms, I am prepared to study. Studying at home is not an option, because it means TV, DVDs, an array of food and too much gossip to handle. So off to the libraries I go.

The problem is, libraries are like those elusive perfect-fitting jeans. You have to find one that’s comfortable and fits you perfectly. Luckily for us Queen’s students—and perhaps unknown to some of you—Queen’s has five main libraries—not all of which are called “Stauffer.” So I went on an expedition to find my perfect fit.

• Stauffer Library, a.k.a. the party library.

The largest and probably best known library on campus is just across the street from the JDUC. Study spaces are made up of big tables, solitary study desks, group study rooms and comfy lounge chairs.

Inhabiting the library are the partygoers of Queen’s, the ones for whom weekends start on Thursday (and let’s not forget Wednesday —Hump Day). The guys don prepped up collars and striped shirts, and the girls flash their Sevens, Lululemons and Ugg boots. Everyone knows everyone else. On ground floor, there’s an area fondly named “Club Stauffer.” It’s a nice place to socialize, but a tricky place to study because there are too many familiar faces.

In contrast to the ground floor, there’s the beautiful fireside reading room: a place so quiet, with chairs so comfy, no amount of shame and embarrassment will stop me from drifting off to sleep there.

• Douglas Library, a.k.a. the nerdy library.

Diagonally across the street from Stauffer, you will be treated to the other end of the spectrum of Queen’s library-goers. Glasses, thick textbooks and engineering jackets are the norm, but who’s to say that’s not trendy?

The library study areas have a similar feel to Stauffer, but with much less of a crowd and more of an incentive to work. It’s a definite alternative during exam period, when those 30 minutes spent traipsing around Stauffer looking for an empty seat could have been channeled towards more productive matters, such as messaging everyone on your MSN list and downloading ’80s pop from DC++.

One area not to miss is the top floor, where you can find the room my friends have fondly nicknamed “the Harry Potter room.” With beautiful stained glass and antique furniture, the room has a definite old-school feel reminiscent of the dining hall in the Harry Potter movies.

• Bracken Health Sciences Library, a.k.a. the keener library.

Bracken is located in Botterell Hall, in the bottom right corner of campus. Botterell is home to medicine, life science and nursing classes, not to mention cut-up body parts and bones. The residents of Bracken Library reflect this world—backpacks stuffed full of textbooks and laptops, hands wielding ink-changing ‘clicky’ pens and brows furrowed with concentration.

The library has recently been redone, with leather couches and flat-screen monitors gracing the entrance. There is an aura of determination and hard work that gives you no choice but to buckle down and get some work done.

• Education Library, a.k.a. the kiddie library.

West Campus—that elusive, far-off, almost mystical section of Queen’s—also has its own library. Out of all the libraries in Queen’s, the Education Library is by far the cutest. Stocked full of children’s books, bright decorations and friendly librarians, it never fails to make me grin. It’s probably the fourth grader in me, but nothing is cooler than reading The Balloon Tree during study breaks. It’s a great place to get away from the sterile “grown-up” libraries and the crowds. Because really, only con-eds and their friends can be bothered to make that painful 15 minute walk.

• Lederman Law Library, a.k.a. the adult library.

The law library can be found in Sir. John A. Macdonald Hall, across the street from Goodes Hall. The building is intimidating, to say the least. Entering Macdonald Hall, my commerce buddy remarked—“So this is how you ArtSci kids feel when you go into Goodes.” Yes. It’s a feeling of being somewhat of a poser in the shiny, grand building of law students. The main entrance of the library is on the second floor, but the library itself is made up of three floors full of musty old books and wooden furniture.

The residents of Lederman are essentially law students, the ones full of determination, drive, confidence and coffee. Like the health science library, being surrounded by students who have made it into law school gives you a feeling of hope, maybe you too can make it through university only slightly unhinged.

So, there you have it: all five options, of which one just might be your perfect fit. Next time you make up your mind to get down to some serious studying, take advantage of your options—trekking to West Campus, for instance, just might help you clear your thoughts a little better.

Libraries: home, sweet home...

Sure, libraries are great places to study, but it’s all the extra features of the library that make it an experience to remember, and alter you into a permanent library resident. These are the quirks of libraries Postscript enjoys:

1. Rows of shining new computers
Flatscreens! Slick black keyboards that don’t sound like machine guns! Your technological experience just reached new heights.

2. On that note … more computers, in general
Now you can check your e-mail, guilt-free and lineup-free, anytime you feel like procrastinating.

3. The Learning Commons booths
The benches are strangely reminiscent of the caf booths. Plus, they are perfect for a quick (or, accidentally prolonged) mid-study snooze that other studious creatures might frown upon.

4. Ability to bring food into the library
Sandwiches, donuts, cookies, spring rolls … now your study munchies are expanding to new horizons, along with that tenth cup of coffee.

5. Refurbishment of the Douglas top floor
The beautiful and antique Harry Potter room now has more lights, so you no longer feel like you’re studying in a cave when the sun goes down.

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