Student Life

Not sure where to study? Four alternative study spots on campus

The Winter semester is in full swing, which means it’s time for students to bury their heads back into their textbooks. With the wounds of last finals season still healing, the memories of the Schulich and Redpath-McLennan libraries are scarring for many students. The McGill Tribune has compiled a list of five alternative study spots on campus to try based on mood and study habits, to switch up their study environment while staying on top of their work.

When you’re seeking solitude – Islamic Studies Library

Address: Morrice Hall, 3485 McTavish Street

Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, this library’s calm and reclusive atmosphere is perfect if you’re looking to work in a silent environment by yourself. The bookshelves, brimming with historical material, inspire curiosity and serenity. The private carrels spread across the library are the perfect spots to be focused-yet-relaxed while doing readings for tomorrow’s class, or solving equations at your own pace. Check it out if you find yourself looking for a calm place to study, but be warned that outlets are sparse, so come prepared with a fully-charged battery.

Noise Level – 2/5

If you’re feeling social – Geographic Information Centre

Address: 5th floor, Burnside Hall, 805 Sherbrooke Street West

The Geographic Information Center (GIC) is a bustling study area filled with students chatting in small groups. Situated on the fifth floor of busy Burnside Hall, the centre’s lively open space is the ideal environment for students in need of a little background noise to focus. The large tables make for great group study spaces, and the rows of computers by the door are perfect for students hoping to leave their laptops at home. If you’re overwhelmed by the oppressively silent environment of libraries, and can’t seem to work in isolation, the GIC is the perfect place to study in the company of peers.

Noise level – 4/5

For a motivated morning –  Osler Library of the History of Medicine

Address: 3rd Floor, McIntyre Medical, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler

With its tall windows, dispersed plants, and towering wooden bookshelves, this library’s atmosphere is immediately welcoming. These characteristics, combined with the intense silence of the building, make it easy to focus on schoolwork and lose track of time. However, the library’s opening hour of 9 a.m. and early closing time of 5 p.m. during the week best suits a crowd of morning risers with daytime study habits. So, if you find yourself in McMed at an early hour, this study spot may be the best for you. Beware that you’ll need a charged laptop to get through this study session, as there aren’t many outlets in the library. Although, with the Med Café on the fifth floor of the building, students can grab a snack and charge their laptops during a lunch-time study break.

Noise Level – 1/5


When you need to focus – Birks Reading Room

Address: 2nd floor, Birks Building, 3250 University Street

Situated within the Religious Studies building, the Birks Reading Room is a small and orderly space where students are required to remove their shoes before entering. The main floor of the library is filled with bookshelves holding encyclopedias on every known religion. Despite the picturesque setting, the mood is tense due to the strictly upheld rules about noise level. For students seeking a silent study day, the lack of distraction, small crowd, and abundance of outlets allow for long periods of concentrated work. If you’re looking to take advantage of the natural light for calm reading or people-watching, head up to the second-floor study space and grab one of the many individual chairs in the room featuring large windows overlooking University Street.

Noise Level – 1/5

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