Photo Credit: Hart House Library
Libraries remain your best bet for comfort and focus
Korto Zambeli-Tardif, Staff Contributor
It’s October, all you eager beavers (True Blue or otherwise), and that means it’s time to load up on sticky notes, trade in the cold brew for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and migrate to some good study spaces for the winter. The association of a good study space with good study habits is a winning combination for effective learning. Today, let’s tackle the first factor in that relationship and count down The Mike’s seven recommendations for the best study spots at the University of Toronto (U of T)!
- John P. Robarts Research Library: Robarts is turkey-shaped and so packed with books that rumours persist that the collective weight is causing the entire edifice to sink into St. George Street. Yet Robarts is the university’s crown jewel. Richard Gwyn gives ol’ Fort Book a shout-out in his biography of Sir John A. Macdonald, marvelling at both the vastness of the collection and the industriousness of the students. Robarts is 14 floors of drab concrete, bursting at the seams with a large fraction of the world’s knowledge, which makes it the best destination for prospective grad students.
- Gerstein Science Information Centre: The building’s design truly welcomes a variety of personalities. The ground floor presents a series of well-lit, wide-open, and high-ceilinged rooms, inviting you to breathe easier as you dig into that lab report. Those with a sterner constitution might want to descend to the lower levels, where they can feel snug and secure amidst the cramped bookshelves filled with psychology manuals. Gerstein is all about keeping a level head and a clean colon, the latter of which is guaranteed by a visit to the Green Beet Café.
- John W. Graham Library, Trinity College: The libraries of three federated colleges are included on this list, each with its own strong points. Graham is notable for its warmth (atmospherically and temperature-wise) and its excellent collections of religious texts, Canadian literature, and large individual study desks. Study here when you want to spread out your belongings and remind yourself that you belong at this university.
- John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael’s College: Here we have another robust religious collection, this time accompanied by U of T’s special collections of Romance language literature. Cinephiles, novel-lovers, and Catholics are Kelly’s core clientele, but anyone can see the appeal of this library’s first-floor common area, where talking and eating are both permitted and dozens of books can be snapped up for fifty cents apiece.
- E. J. Pratt Library, Victoria College: Rounding out our federated trio is Vic’s library. Every day, the study carrels are filled alarmingly fast, but there’s plenty of space in the ground floor’s quiet zone and amid the lower level’s stacks. This is your go-to study spot if you want to regroup in the middle of a snowstorm, curled up in an armchair with an original printing of your favourite critical theory text.
- UTM Library: Once students arrive at the Mississauga campus, they might espy the warm wooden tones of this library’s cubist façade. Inside, the student is faced with open-concept floor plans, ringed by floor-to-ceiling windows. The maximization of floor space and sunlight exposure represents an improvement on the similar aesthetics of Pratt and Kelly. Angelo Gio Mateo, a U of T graduate, is especially keen on this library’s flexible usage of different study spaces: spaces of total silence, spaces for quiet conversation, and a surprisingly large number of group study rooms.
- Hart House Library: Ascend to the third floor of Hart House and you will find an enchanted space of absolute quiet. The books from this idiosyncratic collection cannot be removed from the single rectangular room, but you’ll devour each book in one sitting anyway because you won’t want to leave. This list began with the most erudite destination and concludes with the comfiest one. If you visit Robarts to study, you visit Hart House Library to read, reflect, and possibly nap.
On the subject of naps, please remember to take care of yourself this semester. Pick the study space that suits your needs and face those midterms with the best attitude you can muster. We’re all in this together.